Prevalence of microplastics in the marine waters of Qatar

Azenith B Castillo, Ibrahim Al-Maslamani, Jeffrey Philip Obbard
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2016 October 15, 111 (1-2): 260-267
Microplastics are firmly recognized as a ubiquitous and growing threat to marine biota and their associated marine habitats worldwide. The evidence of the prevalence of microplastics was documented for the first time in the marine waters of Qatar's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). An optimized and validated protocol was developed for the extraction of microplastics from plankton-rich seawater samples without loss of microplastic debris present and characterized using Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy. In total 30 microplastic polymers have been identified with an average concentration of 0.71particlesm(-3) (range 0-3particlesm(-3)). Polypropylene, low density polyethylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyamide, polymethyl methacrylate, cellophane, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymers were characterized with majority of the microplastics either granular shape, sizes ranging from 125μm to 1.82mm or fibrous with sizes from 150μm to 15.98mm. The microplastics are evident in areas where nearby anthropogenic activities, including oil-rig installations and shipping operations are present.

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