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Abundance, characteristics and surface degradation features of microplastics in beach sediments of five coastal areas in Tamil Nadu, India

Sathish, Narmatha, Jeyasanta, K. Immaculate, Patterson, Jamila
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.142 pp. 112-118
beaches, coasts, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, management systems, microplastics, nylon, polyesters, polyethylene, polypropylenes, polystyrenes, recreation, scanning electron microscopy, sediments, waste management, water pollution, India
This study undertook to investigate the occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in the high and low-tide sediments of five coastal areas in Tamil Nadu, India. The abundance of microplastics vary from 439 ± 172 to 119 ± 72 (HTL) and 179 ± 68 to 33 ± 30 (LTL) items kg−1 of sediments. The MP polymers found in the study sites are Polyethylene (73.2%), polypropylene (13.8%), nylon (8.2%), polystyrene (2.8%) and polyester (2%). The weathered surfaces might act as high-capacity carriers and this was confirmed by SEM-EDAX. The results of an analysis of the textures of the sediments do not ascribe any influence on microplastic abundance. The recreation, religious and fishing activities are the major contributors to plastic pollution in these beaches, which is borne out by the high abundance of MPs in the study sites. A regular and permanent waste management system should be put in place for the protection of beaches.