Microplastic pollution in the marine waters and sediments of Hong Kong

The presence of plastic waste with a diameter of less than 5 mm (“microplastics”) in marine environments has prompted increasing concern in recent years, both locally and globally. We conducted seasonal surveys of microplastic pollution in the surface waters and sediments from Deep Bay, Tolo Harbor, Tsing Yi, and Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong between June 2015 and March 2016. The average concentrations of microplastics in local coastal waters and sediments respectively ranged from 51 to 27,909 particles per 100 m3 and 49 to 279 particles per kilogram. Microplastics of different shapes (mainly fragments, lines, fibers, and pellets) were identified as polypropylene, low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, a blend of polypropylene and ethylene propylene, and styrene acrylonitrile by means of Attenuated Total Reflectance – Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. This is the first comprehensive study to assess the spatial and temporal variations of microplastic pollution in Hong Kong coastal regions.

Y.Y. Tsang, C.W. Mak, C. Liebich, S.W. Lam, E. T-P. Sze, K.M. Chan, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 115, Issues 1–2, 15 February 2017, Pages 20–28

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