Consistent transport of terrestrial microplastics to the ocean through atmosphere. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Consistent transport of terrestrial microplastics to the ocean through atmosphere.
Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Aug 13. Epub 2019 Aug 13. PMID: 31408609
Although atmospheric transport and deposition could be an important pathway of terrestrial pollutants to the ocean, a few information concerning the presence and distribution of these suspended atmospheric microplastics in marine air is available. We investigated, for the first time, the occurrence and distribution of suspended atmospheric microplastics (SAMPs) in the west Pacific Ocean. In this study, the spatial distribution, morphological appearance, and chemical composition of suspended atmospheric microplastics were studied through continuous sampling during a cruise. SAMPs abundance ranged from 0 to 1.37 n/m3, the median of 0.01 n/m3. Fiber, fragment, and granule SAMPs quantitively constituted 60%, 31%, and 8% of all MPs, respectively. Interestingly, plastic microbeads with numerical proportion of 5% were also observed. A high suspended atmospheric microplastics abundance was found in the coastal area (0.13±0.24 n/m3), while there was less amount detected in the pelagic area (0.01±0.01 n/m3). The amount of suspended atmospheric microplastics collected during the daytime (0.45 ± 0.46 n/m3) was twice the amount collected at night (0.22 ± 0.19 n/m3), on average. Our observations provide field-based evidence that suspended atmospheric microplastics are an important source of microplastics pollution in the ocean, especially the pollution caused by textile microfibers.