Microplastics in subsurface coastal waters along the southern coast of Viti Levu in Fiji, South Pacific
Date of publication 29 Jun 2020
Authors Dehm, Jasha; Singh, Shubha; Ferreira, Marta; Piovano, Susanna.
Sources Marine pollution bulletin : 156, 111239.
Microplastics (MPs) remain largely understudied in Small Island Developing States. This study is aimed at comparing the abundance and characteristics of MPs in rural and urban marine coastal sites located along the southern coast of Fiji’s main inhabited island, Viti Levu. Collection of subsurface waters (at depth of ca. 0.6 m) was performed at seven sites via Niskin bottle. Samples were filtered over a membrane filter to extract MPs and to allow visual analysis and polymer identification by using attenuated total reflectance in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Findings from this study depict widespread presence of MPs in both urban and rural sites, and show no significant differences in the four parameters studied, i.e. abundance of MP pieces (2.0 vs 1.6 MP/L, respectively), form types (dominance of fibers), size (0.5-0.9 and 1.0-1.4 mm totaling 48% of the samples), and color (blue contributing 30%, and red and black contributing 25% each). These findings challenge the common expectation of a higher MPs pollution in urban areas compared to rural areas.