The contamination of inland waters by microplastic fibres under different anthropogenic pressure: Preliminary study in Central Europe (Poland)

Date of publication 3 August 2020

Authors Kaliszewicz, Anita; Winczek, Michal; Karaban, Kamil; Kurzydlowski, Dominik; Gorska, Maria; Koselak, Weronika; Romanowski, Jerzy.

Sources Waste Management & Research :



The contamination of freshwater ecosystems with microfibres has not yet been studied in Poland. We analysed samples from a river and three lakes located in central and northeastern Poland. A significantly higher number of fibres were reported in the river, which runs through large cities, compared with the lake situated within the Landscape Park. Fibres smaller than 1.0 mm dominated, especially in the river where they constituted 39% of all fibres detected. We found more microplastics (<= 4930 fibres center dot m(-3)) by using a mesh size of 20 mu m compared with other studies of inland waters. The use of Raman spectroscopy allowed us to identify conventional plastic polymers: polyethylene terephthalate, polyester and polyurethane. We estimated that up to 25 g of microplastic in the form of fibres might be in the lake water under the surface. We found microplastic fibres in Majcz Lake situated within the Masurian Landscape Park. This suggests that microfibres are carried by the wind and rain and enter freshwater isolated from sewage outlets. By using the control sample and an air-test of microfibres in the laboratory, we observed that there is a high probability of contamination with microplastic in the field samples (up to 30% of all fibres detected). The contamination risk noted from the samples cannot be ignored; this could be particularly important for analysis of microplastic in remote freshwater ecosystems.

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