Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 32, pp 24928–24935 | Cite as

Characteristic of microplastics in the atmospheric fallout from Dongguan city, China: preliminary research and first evidence

  • Liqi Cai
  • Jundong Wang
  • Jinping PengEmail author
  • Zhi Tan
  • Zhiwei Zhan
  • Xiangling Tan
  • Qiuqiang Chen
Research Article


Microplastic pollution has exhibited a global distribution, including seas, lakes, rivers, and terrestrial environment in recent years. However, little attention was paid on the atmospheric environment, though the fact that plastic debris can escape as wind-blown debris was previously reported. Thus, characteristics of microplastics in the atmospheric fallout from Dongguan city were preliminarily studied. Microplastics of three different polymers, i.e., PE, PP, and PS, were identified. Diverse shapes of microplastics including fiber, foam, fragment, and film were found, and fiber was the dominant shape of the microplastics. SEM images illustrated that adhering particles, grooves, pits, fractures, and flakes were the common patterns of degradation. The concentrations of non-fibrous microplastics and fibers ranged from 175 to 313 particles/m2/day in the atmospheric fallout. Thus, dust emission and deposition between atmosphere, land surface, and aquatic environment were associated with the transportation of microplastics.


Microplastics Atmospheric fallout Dongguan city μ-FTIR SEM 


Funding information

This study was financially supported from National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 41676104) and program of Science and Technology development of Dongguan city (no. 2016108101016).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liqi Cai
    • 1
  • Jundong Wang
    • 1
  • Jinping Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhi Tan
    • 2
  • Zhiwei Zhan
    • 2
  • Xiangling Tan
    • 1
  • Qiuqiang Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Light IndustryGuangdong University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Dongguan Environmental Monitoring Central StationDongguanChina

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