Significant riverine inputs of typical plastic additives-phthalate esters from the Pearl River Delta to the northern South China Sea

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

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number157744
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Volume849
Online published2 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022

Abstract

Phthalate esters (PAEs) are representative additives used extensively in plastics. In this study, 15 PAEs were investigated at the eight riverine outlets of the Pearl River Delta (PRD). The total concentrations of Σ15PAEs, including both the dissolved and particulate phases, ranged from 562 to 1460 ng/L and 679 ng/L-2830 ng/L in the surface and bottom layers, respectively. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) dominated in the dissolved and suspended particulate matter (SPM) phases, respectively, accounting for >50 % and > 80 % of Σ15PAEs. Riverine input of wastewater from the PRD was possibly the primary source of the contamination. Higher levels of PAEs occurred at the eastern outlets than at the western ones. The dissolved and particulate PAEs varied seasonally, with significantly higher concentrations observed in the dry season than in the wet season. However, no significant differences of PAE levels in both phases were observed among low, medium, and high tides. The partitioning results demonstrated that SPM is important in the transportation of pollutants in estuaries, where more hydrophobic DEHP was predominantly transported by the SPM phase, while those more hydrophilic ones were regularly transported by the dissolved phase. The total annual flux of Σ15PAEs through the eight outlets to the SCS reached 1390 tons.

Research Area(s)

  • Eight riverine outlets, Mass load, PAEs, Partitioning behavior, Seasonal variation

Citation Format(s)

Significant riverine inputs of typical plastic additives-phthalate esters from the Pearl River Delta to the northern South China Sea. / Cao, Yaru; Lin, Huiju; Wang, Qi; Li, Jing; Liu, Mengyang; Zhang, Kai; Xu, Shaopeng; Huang, Guangling; Ruan, Yuefei; Wu, Jiaxue; Leung, Kenneth M.Y.; Lam, Paul K.S.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 849, 157744, 25.11.2022.

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