Rapid Sampling of Suspended and Floating Microplastics in Challenging Riverine and Coastal Water Environments in Japan

Date of publication 3 August 2020

Authors Abeynayaka, Amila; Kojima, Fujio; Miwa, Yoshikazu; Ito, Nobuhiro; Nihei, Yasuo; Fukunaga, Yu; Yashima, Yuga; Itsubo, Norihiro.

Sources Water : 12 (DocId: 7)

DOILink https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071903


Environmental sampling plays an important role in quantitative and qualitative investigation of plastic pollution. Rivers are a major source, carrying plastic litter into the oceans. Microplastic sampling in riverine and coastal environments is often a challenging task due to limited access, time taken, costs, human resources, etc. Our present study evaluated the performance of newly developed sampling devices (Albatross Mark 5 and 6 (AM-5 and AM-6)) that were suitable to collect floating and suspended microplastic samples in challenging freshwater and coastal environments (95 locations). Our observations indicated a similar magnitude of microplastic concentrations with AM-5 and AM-6 sampling compared to conventional plankton nets. The sampling duration, originally 10-60 min (by plankton net), was reduced to 3 min (AM-5 and AM-6) for sampling water volumes of approximately 10 m(3). The developed AM-6 device was used to collect samples from riverine and coastal environments in Japan. The microplastic particle polymer composition (using Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometry (FT-IR)), size, and shape (microscopic images) were investigated. The observations showed a statistically significant particle size reduction from the riverine to coastal areas. The dominant polymer types detected were polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The observations were complied with the coastal microplastic observations that were reported for previous studies in Japanese water environments.

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