Comparisons of microplastic pollution between mudflats and sandy beaches in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

2 Scopus Citations
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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-217
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Pollution
Volume236
Early online date7 Mar 2018
StatePublished - May 2018

Abstract

Most of the previous studies of microplastic pollution on coastal habitats focused on high energy beaches although low energy areas such as mudflats are supposed to retain more microplastics, not to mention that mudflats are biologically more diverse. We quantified and characterized microplastics from 10 mudflats and 10 sandy beaches in Hong Kong spanning from the eastern to western waters. Sediment samples were collected at 1.0 m and 1.5 m above chart datum (CD) and at the strandline. Abundance of microplastics ranged between 0.58 and 2116 items kg−1 sediment with that on mudflats being ten times more than on beaches. Polyethylene (46.9%) was the most abundant and followed by polypropylene (13.8%) and polyethylene terephthalate (13.5%). Expanded polystyrene was the most abundant in the strandline samples but not at 1.0 m and 1.5 m above CD. Although previous studies have concluded that the input from Pearl River is a major source of microplastics on Hong Kong shores, this study has demonstrated that the contribution of local pollution sources such as discharge from sewage treatment plants to microplastic pollution should not be neglected.

Research Area(s)

  • Marine debris, Microplastic, Mudflats, Sandy beaches