EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Roadmap for long-term macroplastic monitoring in rivers

Paul Vriend1,2, Tim van Emmerik1, and Eric Copius Peereboom2
Paul Vriend et al.
  • 1Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 2Water, Verkeer en Leefomgeving, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Macroplastic pollution in and around rivers negatively impacts human livelihood, and aquatic ecosystems. Monitoring data are crucial for better understanding and quantifying this problem, and for the design of effective intervention strategies. However, current monitoring efforts are often short duration, or study single river compartments. We present a ‘Roadmap’ to overcome the challenges related to the design and implementation of long-term riverine macroplastic monitoring strategies. This ‘Roadmap’ can help accelerating the process of achieving structural monitoring through providing a stepwise approach, which links monitoring goals and research questions to the data and methods required to answer them. We identify four monitoring goals: (1) policy, (2) knowledge development, (3) operations, and (4) solutions. Linked to these, we provide a non-exhaustive list of 12 globally common research questions that are important to answer to reach these goals. The ‘Roadmap’ takes these questions and links them to development levels of monitoring methods for each river compartment: (1) method development, (2) baseline assessment, and (3) long-term monitoring. At each level, specific questions can only be answered if the level is achieved for specific river compartments. For questions at higher levels, the previous levels need to be achieved first. This creates a clear stepwise approach to solve open challenges. With the ‘Roadmap’, we provide a new tool to support decision-making and planning of specific projects by policy makers. The ‘Roadmap’ is a clear and stepwise, yet flexible framework that allows to add and remove elements based on new insights, available resources, and other relevant changes.

How to cite: Vriend, P., van Emmerik, T., and Copius Peereboom, E.: Roadmap for long-term macroplastic monitoring in rivers, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-928,, 2022.


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