Microplastic in three urban estuaries, China

Estuarine Microplastics (MPs) are limited to know globally. By filtering subsurface water through 330 μm nets, MPs in Jiaojiang, Oujiang Estuaries were quantified, as well as that in Minjiang Estuary responding to Typhoon Soulik. Polymer matrix was analyzed by Raman spectroscopy. MP (<5 mm) comprised more than 90% of total number plastics. The highest MPs density was found in Minjiang, following Jiaojiang and Oujiang. Fibers and granules were the primary shapes, with no pellets found. Colored MPs were the majority. The concentrations of suspended microplastics determine their bioavailability to low trophic organisms, and then possibly promoting the transfer of microplastic to higher trophic levels. Polypropylene and polyethylene were the prevalent types of MPs analyzed. Economic structures in urban estuaries influenced on MPs contamination levels. Typhoon didn’t influence the suspended MP densities significantly. Our results provide basic information for better understanding suspended microplastics within urban estuaries and for managerial actions.

Shiye Zhao, Lixin Zhu, Daoji Li, Environmental Pollution, Volume 206, Pages 597–604, November 2015

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