JOURNAL ARTICLE

Spatial patterns of plastic debris along Estuarine shorelines

Mark A Browne, Tamara S Galloway, Richard C Thompson
Environmental Science & Technology 2010 May 1, 44 (9): 3404-9
20377170
The human population generates vast quantities of waste material. Macro (>1 mm) and microscopic (<1 mm) fragments of plastic debris represent a substantial contamination problem. Here, we test hypotheses about the influence of wind and depositional regime on spatial patterns of micro- and macro-plastic debris within the Tamar Estuary, UK. Debris was identified to the type of polymer using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and categorized according to density. In terms of abundance, microplastic accounted for 65% of debris recorded and mainly comprised polyvinylchloride, polyester, and polyamide. Generally, there were greater quantities of plastic at downwind sites. For macroplastic, there were clear patterns of distribution for less dense items, while for microplastic debris, clear patterns were for denser material. Small particles of sediment and plastic are both likely to settle slowly from the water-column and are likely to be transported by the flow of water and be deposited in areas where the movements of water are slower. There was, however, no relationship between the abundance of microplastic and the proportion of clay in sediments from the strandline. These results illustrate how FT-IR spectroscopy can be used to identify the different types of plastic and in this case was used to indicate spatial patterns, demonstrating habitats that are downwind acting as potential sinks for the accumulation of debris.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
20377170
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"