Progress on microplastics research in the Yellow Sea, China

Date of publication 3 August 2020

Authors Li, Qingjie; Sun, Xiaoxia.

Sources Anthropocene Coasts : 3 (DocId: 1) 43–52.



Marine microplastics are a global problem and are causing considerable concern. As the largest marginal sea of the Western Pacific, the Yellow Sea is surrounded by China and the Korean Peninsula, and its coastal ecosystem is greatly affected by human activities. This article reviews the progress of microplastics research in the Yellow Sea in China, including studies on surface water, the seawater column, sediments, and marine organisms. The results indicate that plastic debris exists throughout the west Yellow Sea, with higher abundance of microplastics in water columns and sediments in the north part than those in the south part. Fibers <1 mm and transparent-colored particles dominated the samples collected. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and cellophane (CP) were the dominant debris types. The wide distribution of microplastics in the environment also results in animal ingestion. Sea cucumbers, accordingly, ingest more microplastic debris than other biologic taxa (zooplankton, shellfish, and fish) that have a bearing on their surrounding environment. By providing basic environmental assessment data regarding the Yellow Sea, this paper demonstrates that actions should be taken to reduce the consumption and emission of plastics into the environment.

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