Occurrence and Distribution of Microplastics in the Sea Surface Microlayer in Jinhae Bay, South Korea

Microplastic contamination of the marine environment is a worldwide concern. The abundance of microplastics was evaluated in the sea surface microlayer in Jinhae Bay, on the southern coast of Korea. The microplastics in this study are divided into paint resin particles and plastics by polymer type. The mean abundance of paint resin particles (94 ± 68 particles/L) was comparable to that of plastics (88 ± 68 particles/L). Fragmented microplastics, including paint resin particles, accounted for 75 % of total particles, followed by spherules (14 %), fibers (5.8 %), expanded polystyrene (4.6 %), and sheets (1.6 %). Alkyd (35 %) and poly(acrylate/styrene) (16 %) derived from ship paint resin were dominant, and the other microplastic samples consisted of polypropylene, polyethylene, phenoxy resin, polystyrene, polyester, synthetic rubber, and other polymers. The abundance of plastics was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in Jinhae Bay, which is surrounded by a coastal city, than along the east coast of Geoje, which is relatively open sea. The floating microplastic abundance in surface water was the highest reported worldwide.

 

Young Kyoung Song, Sang Hee Hong, Mi Jang, Gi Myung Han, Won Joon Shim, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 279-287, October 2015

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