The effects of wet wipe pollution on the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in the River Thames, London

Katherine McCoy, Daniella Hodgson, Paul F Clark, David Morritt

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The aim of the present study was to evaluate “flushable” and “non-flushable” wet wipes as a source of plastic pollution in the River Thames at Hammersmith, London and the impacts they have on the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, in this watercourse. Surveys were conducted to assess whether the density of wet wipes along the foreshore upstream of Hammersmith Bridge affected the distribution of C. fluminea. High densities of wet wipes were associated with low numbers of clams and vice versa. The maximum wet wipe density recorded was 143 wipes m-2 and maximum clam density 151 individuals m-2. Clams adjacent to the wet wipe reefs were found to contain synthetic polymers including polypropylene (57%), 21 polyethylene (9%), polyallomer (8%), nylon (8%) and polyester (3%). Some of these 22 polymers may have originated from the wet wipe reefs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114577
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

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