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The Fate of Microplastic in Marine Sedimentary Environments: A Review and Synthesis

27 Jun 2020

A review of 80 papers on microplastic (MP) particles in marine sediments was conducted for different sedimentary environments. The papers were assessed for data on average MP concentration, MP morphotype (fibres, fragments, films, etc.), MP particle size distribution, sediment accumulation rates and correlations with total organic carbon (TOC) and sediment grain size. The median concentration of MP particles is highest in fjords at 7000 particles kg−1 dry sediment (DS) followed by 300 in estuarine environments, 200 in beaches, 200 in shallow coastal environments, 50 on continental shelves and 80 particles kg−1 DS for deep sea environments. Fibres are the dominant MP type and account for 90% of MP on beaches (median value) and 49% of particles in tide-dominated estuaries. In order to advance our understanding of the fate of MP in the ocean, quantitative assessments are needed of MP flux rates (g m−2 year−1) in a range of sedimentary environments.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: Peter T. Harris

Year of publication: 2020

Publisher: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Tags: Microplastic Plastic Pollution Marine Plastic

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