The occurrence of microplastics in the beach sand of the Bohai Sea was investigated for the first time. The Bohai Sea is the largest Chinese inner sea and its coastal region is one of the most densely urbanized and industrialized zones of China. Samples from three costal sites (i.e., Bijianshan, Xingcheng and Dongdaihe) were collected, quantified and identified for microplastic analysis. Effects of sample depth and tourism activity were investigated. Surface samples (2 cm) contained higher microplastic concentrations than deep samples (20 cm). Samples from the bathing beach exhibited higher microplastic concentrations than the non-bathing beach, suggesting the direct contribution of microplastics from tourism activity. Of eight types of microplastics that were found, PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate), LDPE (light density polyethylene) and PS (polystyrene) were the largest in abundances. Moreover, the non-plastic items from samples were analyzed and results revealed that the majority abundance of the observed non-plastics were viscose cellulose fibers. Further studies are required to evaluate the environmental hazards of microplastics, especially as they may “act as a contaminant transporter” to the Bohai Sea ecosystem.
Xubiao Yu, Jinping Peng, Jundong Wang, Kan Wang, Shaowu Bao, Environmental Pollution, Volume 214, Pages 722–730, July 2016