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Evidence of transport of styrene oligomers originated from polystyrene plastic to oceans by runoff

Amamiya, Keiji, Saido, Katsuhiko, Chung, Seon-Yong, Hiaki, Toshihiko, Lee, Dong Soo, Kwon, Bum Gun
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.667 pp. 57-63
atmospheric precipitation, coasts, estuaries, oceans, overland flow, plastics, pollution, polystyrenes, runoff, sand, seawater, styrene
This study demonstrates for the first time that styrene oligomers (SOs), which are indicators of polystyrene (PS) plastic contamination in the environment, are transported from land to the ocean. Samples of sand and seawater were taken from the coastline of the Tokyo Bay over the past four years, and all samples of both sand and seawater were found to contain SOs such as styrene monomer (SM), styrene dimers (SD), and styrene trimers (ST), with the concentration distributions of these being in the order of ST > SD > SM. The concentrations of these SOs are linearly proportional to monthly precipitation. These results indicate that various land-based SOs sources are connected with the estuary, a substantial amount of which are transported into Tokyo Bay through runoff as overland flow. As a result, runoff by precipitation is a potential transport pathway of land-based SOs sources. This finding is of interest in terms of both the extent of PS plastic pollution and the transport of SOs to the ocean.The assessment of the transport of styrene oligomers (SOs) in the coastal environment is performed.