JOURNAL ARTICLE

Contamination characteristics and degradation behavior of low-density polyethylene film residues in typical farmland soils of China

Gang Xu, Qunhui Wang, Qingbao Gu, Yunzhe Cao, Xiaoming DU, Fasheng Li
Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part. B, Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes 2006, 41 (2): 189-99
16393905
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film residues left in farmlands due to agricultural activities were extensively investigated to evaluate the present pollution situation by selecting the typical areas with LDPE film application, including Harbin, Baoding, and Handan of China. The survey results demonstrated that the film residues were ubiquitous within the investigated areas and the amount reached 2,400-8,200 g ha(-1). Breakage rates of the film residues were almost at the same level in the studied fields. There were relatively small amounts of film residues remaining in neighboring farmland fields without application of LDPE film. The studies showed that the sheets of LDPE residues had the same oxidative deterioration, which was probably due to photodegradation instead of biodegradation. The higher molecular weight components of the LDPE film gradually decreased, which were reflected by the appearance of some small flakes detached from the film bodies. LDPE films in the investigated fields gradually deteriorated and the decomposing levels developed with their left time increasing. The degradation behaviors of LDPE films were confirmed by using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), scanning electron microscopic (SEM), and gel permeation chromatography analyses.

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