Spatial and seasonal variation of microplastics and possible sources in the estuarine system from central west coast of India
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The versatile use of various synthetic polymers, including plastics, generates a large volume of non-degradable waste, which is eventually responsible for forming microplastics (MPs) in aquatic environments. The present study describes the significant spatial and seasonal variation on the abundance of MPs and their physiochemical nature along the Mandovi-Zuari estuarine system of Goa, west coast of India. During the wet season (September), the average abundance of MPs was found relatively higher in water (0.107 particles/m3) and sediment (7314 particles/kg) than those found in the dry season (April) (0.099 particles/m3 in water and 4873 particles/kg in sediment). During the wet season, heavy rain and excessive riverine freshwater influx carry more terrestrial plastic debris in the estuarine system which causes higher averages MPs density in surface water and sediment. <300 mu m sized particles and black colored MPs were predominant equally in water and sediment during both seasons. MPs of different shapes like fragments, fibres, films and beads accounted for most collected samples. The Micro-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy ( mu -FTIR) based compositional analysis identified approximately 33 types of polymers, of which polyacrylamide (PAM), polyacetylene, polyamide (PA), polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyimide (PI) were abundant. Fragmentation of larger plastic particles due to mismanaged treated and untreated STPs and washing machine effluents are the primary sources of these MPs in the estuarine system. Moreover, these estuaries also receive a variety of domestic, industrial and other wastes from local cities, ports, and fishing jetties. Thus the present study enlightens the current distribution of MPs and their sources in the Mandovi-Zuari estuarine system and thus provides very useful information to the stakeholder and concerned departments for initiating the mitigation measures.
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