Monitoring of styrene oligomers as indicators of polystyrene plastic pollution in the North-West Pacific Ocean

Styrene oligomers (SOs) as global contaminants are an environmental concern. However, little is known on the distribution of SOs in the ocean. Here, we show the distribution of anthropogenic SOs generated from discarded polystyrene (PS) plastic monitored from the coastal ocean surface waters (horizontal distribution) and deep seawaters (vertical distribution) in the North-West Pacific Ocean. SOs concentrations in surface seawater and deep seawater ranged from 0.17 to 4.26 μg L−1 (total mean: 1.48 ± 1.23 μg L−1) and from 0.31 to 4.31 μg L−1 (total mean: 1.32 ± 0.87 μg L−1), respectively. Since there is no significant difference in the mean concentrations, SOs seems to be spread across marine environment selected in this study. Nevertheless, regional SOs appears to persist to varying degrees with their broad horizontal and vertical distribution in the ocean. Each horizontal and vertical distribution of SOs differs by approximately 1.95–2.57 times, probably depending on the events of weather and global ocean circulation. These results provide the distribution pattern of SOs for assessing environmental pollution arising from PS plastic.

Bum Gun Kwon, Keiji Amamiya, Hideto Sato and al., Chemosphere, Volume 180, August 2017, Pages 500–505

The article


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