Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 25, pp 20459–20468 | Cite as

The occurrence of microplastic contamination in littoral sediments of the Persian Gulf, Iran

  • Abolfazl Naji
  • Zinat Esmaili
  • Sherri A. Mason
  • A. Dick Vethaak
Research Article

Abstract

Microplastics (MPs; <5 mm) in aquatic environments are an emerging contaminant of concern due to their possible ecological and biological consequences. This study addresses that MP quantification and morphology to assess the abundance, distribution, and polymer types in littoral surface sediments of the Persian Gulf were performed. A two-step method, with precautions taken to avoid possible airborne contamination, was applied to extract MPs from sediments collected at five sites during low tide. MPs were found in 80% of the samples. Across all sites, fiber particles were the most dominate shape (88%), followed by films (11.2%) and fragments (0.8%). There were significant differences in MP particle concentration between sampling sites (p value <0.05). The sediments with the highest numbers of MPs were from sites in the vicinity of highly populated centers and municipal effluent discharges. FTIR analysis showed that polyethylene (PE), nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were the most abundant polymer types. More than half of the observed MPs (56%) were in the size category of 1–4.7 mm length, with the remaining particles (44%) being in the size range of 10 μm to <1 mm. Compared to literature data from other regions, intertidal sediments in the Persian Gulf cannot be characterized as a hot spot for MP pollution. The present study could, however, provide useful background information for further investigations and management policies to understand the sources, transport, and potential effects on marine life in the Persian Gulf.

Keywords

Microplastic Coastal pollution Polymer FTIR 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr. Maaroof Zarei and Dr. Masoud Baktiarikia for their technical assistance.

References

  1. Al-Abdulrazzak D, Zeller D, Belhabib D, Tesfamichael D, Pauly D (2015) Total marine fisheries catches in the Persian/Arabian Gulf from 1950 to 2010. Reg Stud Mar Sci 2:28–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alomar C, Estarellas F, Deudero S (2016) Microplastics in the Mediterranean sea: deposition in coastal shallow sediments, spatial variation and preferential grain size. Mar Environ Res 115:1–10Google Scholar
  3. Andrady AL (2011) Microplastics in the marine environment. Mar Pollut Bull 62:1596–1605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aytan U, Valente A, Senturk Y, Usta R, Sahin FBE, Mazlum RE, Agirbas E (2016) First evaluation of neustonic microplastics in Black Sea waters. Mar Environ Res 119:22–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baldwin AK, Corsi SR, Mason SA (2016) Plastic debris in 29 Great Lakes tributaries: relations to watershed attributes and hydrology. Environ Sci Technol 50:10377–10385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnes DK, Galgani F, Thompson RC, Barlaz M (2009) Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments. Philos Trans Royal Soc Lond B: Biol Sci 364:1985–1998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Besseling E, Foekema E, Van Franeker J, Leopold M, Kühn S, Rebolledo EB, Heße E, Mielke L, IJzer J, Kamminga P (2015) Microplastic in a macro filter feeder: humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae. Mar Pollut Bull 95:248–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Browne MA, Galloway T, Thompson R (2007) Microplastic—an emerging contaminant of potential concern? Integr Environ Assess Manag 3:559–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Browne MA, Dissanayake A, Galloway TS, Lowe DM, Thompson RC (2008) Ingested microscopic plastic translocates to the circulatory system of the mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.) Environ Sci Technol 42:5026–5031CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Browne MA, Crump P, Niven SJ, Teuten E, Tonkin A, Galloway T, Thompson R (2011) Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines worldwide: sources and sinks. Environl Sci Technol 45:9175–9179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cole M, Lindeque P, Fileman E, Halsband C, Goodhead R, Moger J, Galloway TS (2013) Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environ Sci Technol 47:6646–6655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dekiff JH, Remy D, Klasmeier J, Fries E (2014) Occurrence and spatial distribution of microplastics in sediments from Norderney. Environ Pollut 186:248–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Derraik JG (2002) The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 44:842–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Devriese LI, van der Meulen MD, Maes T, Bekaert K, Paul-Pont I, Frère L, Robbens J, Vethaak AD (2015) Microplastic contamination in brown shrimp (Crangon crangon, Linnaeus 1758) from coastal waters of the Southern North Sea and Channel area. Mar Pollut Bull 98:179–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eriksen M, Mason S, Wilson S, Box C, Zellers A, Edwards W, Farley H, Amato S (2013) Microplastic pollution in the surface waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Mar Pollut Bull 77:177–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eriksen M, Lebreton LC, Carson HS, Thiel M, Moore CJ, Borerro JC, Galgani F, Ryan PG, Reisser J (2014) Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PLoS One 9:e111913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Farrell P, Nelson K (2013) Trophic level transfer of microplastic: Mytilus edulis (L.) to Carcinus maenas (L.) Environ Pollut 177:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fendall LS, Sewell MA (2009) Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: microplastics in facial cleansers. Mar Pollut Bull 58:1225–1228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fisher WB (1968) The Cambridge history of Iran, Vol. 1. The land of Iran. Cambridge University Press, England, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Foekema EM, De Gruijter C, Mergia MT, van Franeker JA, Murk AJ, Koelmans AA (2013) Plastic in north sea fish. Environ Sci Technol 47:8818–8824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Halpern BS, Walbridge S, Selkoe KA, Kappel CV, Micheli F, D’Agrosa C, Bruno JF, Casey KS, Ebert C, Fox HE (2008) A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319:948–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hanum IF (2014) Mangrove ecosystems of Asia. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  23. Hidalgo-Ruz V, Gutow L, Thompson RC, Thiel M (2012) Microplastics in the marine environment: a review of the methods used for identification and quantification. Environl Sci Technol 46:3060–3075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hopewell J, Dvorak R, Kosior E (2009) Plastics recycling: challenges and opportunities. Philos Trans Royal Soc Lond B: Biol Sci 364:2115–2126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lusher A, McHugh M, Thompson R (2013) Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel. Mar Pollut Bull 67:94–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lusher AL, Burke A, O’Connor I, Officer R (2014) Microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean: validated and opportunistic sampling. Mar Pollut Bull 88:325–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mani T, Hauk A, Walter U, Burkhardt-Holm P (2015) Microplastics profile along the Rhine River. Scientific reports 5:17988. doi:10.1038/srep17988
  28. Mason SA, Garneau D, Sutton R, Chu Y, Ehmann K, Barnes J, Fink P, Papazissimos D, Rogers DL (2016a) Microplastic pollution is widely detected in US municipal wastewater treatment plant effluent. Environ Pollut 218:1045–1054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mason SA, Kammin L, Eriksen M, Aleid G, Wilson S, Box C, Williamson N, Riley A (2016b) Pelagic plastic pollution within the surface waters of Lake Michigan, USA. J Great Lakes Res 42:753–759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mato Y, Isobe T, Takada H, Kanehiro H, Ohtake C, Kaminuma T (2001) Plastic resin pellets as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment. Environ Sci Technol 35:318–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Murphy F, Ewins C, Carbonnier F, Quinn B (2016) Wastewater treatment works (WwTW) as a source of microplastics in the aquatic environment. Environ Sci Technol 50:5800–5808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Naji A, Esmaili Z, Khan FR (2017) Plastic debris and microplastics along the beaches of the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf. Mar Pollut Bull 114:1057–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Naser HA (2013) Assessment and management of heavy metal pollution in the marine environment of the Persian Gulf: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 72:6–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nuelle M-T, Dekiff JH, Remy D, Fries E (2014) A new analytical approach for monitoring microplastics in marine sediments. Environ Pollut 184:161–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. PlasticsEurope (2013). Plastics-the facts 2013: An analysis of European plastics production, demand and waste data. Brussels: PlasticsEuropeGoogle Scholar
  36. Price A, Sheppard C, Roberts C (1993) The gulf: its biological setting. Mar Pollut Bull 27:9–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Qiu Q, Peng J, Yu X, Chen F, Wang J, Dong F (2015) Occurrence of microplastics in the coastal marine environment: first observation on sediment of China. Mar Pollut Bull 98:274–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rios LM, Moore C, Jones PR (2007) Persistent organic pollutants carried by synthetic polymers in the ocean environment. Mar Pollut Bull 54:1230–1237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rochman CM, Browne MA, Halpern BS, Hentschel BT, Hoh E, Karapanagioti HK, Rios-Mendoza LM, Takada H, Teh S, Thompson RC (2013) Policy: classify plastic waste as hazardous. Nature 494:169–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sadri SS, Thompson RC (2014) On the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris entering and leaving the Tamar Estuary, Southwest England. Mar Pollut Bull 81:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sale PF, Feary DA, Burt JA, Bauman AG, Cavalcante GH, Drouillard KG, Kjerfve B, Marquis E, Trick CG, Usseglio P (2011) The growing need for sustainable ecological management of marine communities of the Persian Gulf. Ambio 40:4–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sarafraz J, Rajabizadeh M, Kamrani E (2016) The preliminary assessment of abundance and composition of marine beach debris in the northern Persian Gulf, Bandar Abbas City, Iran. J Mar Biol Assoc U K 96:131–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Setälä O, Fleming-Lehtinen V, Lehtiniemi M (2014) Ingestion and transfer of microplastics in the planktonic food web. Environ Pollut 185:77–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sheppard C, Al-Husiani M, Al-Jamali F, Al-Yamani F, Baldwin R, Bishop J, Benzoni F, Dutrieux E, Dulvy NK, Durvasula SRV (2010) The Gulf: a young sea in decline. Mar Pollut Bull 60:13–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thompson RC, Olsen Y, Mitchell RP, Davis A, Rowland SJ, John AW, McGonigle D, Russell AE (2004) Lost at sea: where is all the plastic? Science 304:838–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vethaak AD, Leslie HA (2016) Plastic debris is a human health issue. Environ Sci Technol 50:6825–6826Google Scholar
  47. Wright SL, Thompson RC, Galloway TS (2013) The physical impacts of microplastics on marine organisms: a review. Environ Pollut 178:483–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zbyszewski M, Corcoran PL (2011) Distribution and degradation of fresh water plastic particles along the beaches of Lake Huron, Canada. Water Air Soil Pollut 220:365–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abolfazl Naji
    • 1
  • Zinat Esmaili
    • 1
  • Sherri A. Mason
    • 2
  • A. Dick Vethaak
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Marine Science and TechnologyUniversity of HormozganBandar AbbasIran
  2. 2.Department of Geology and Environmental SciencesState University of New York at FredoniaNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.DeltaresDelfThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations