Microplastic contamination of intertidal sediments of Scapa Flow, Orkney: a first assessment

Julian Blumenröder, Pauline Sechet, Jenni Elina Kakkonen, Mark G. J. Hartl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The concentration of microplastic particles and fibres was determined in the intertidal sediments at selected sites in Scapa Flow, Orkney, using a super-saturated NaCl flotation technique to extract the plastic and FT-IR spectroscopy to determine the polymer types. Mean concentrations were 730 and 2300 kg− 1 sediment (DW), respectively. Detailed spatial and quantitative analysis revealed that their distribution was a function of proximity to populated areas and associated wastewater effluent, industrial installations, degree of shore exposure and complex tidal flow patterns. Sediment samples from Orkney showed similar levels of microplastic contamination as in two highly populate industrialized mainland UK areas, The Clyde and the Firth of Forth. It was concluded that relative remoteness and a comparative small island population are not predictors of lower microplastic pollution. Furthermore, a larger concerted effort across Scotland and the UK is required to establish a baseline microplastic database for the evaluation of future policy measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume124
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017

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sediment
spatial analysis
flow pattern
quantitative analysis
polymer
plastic
spectroscopy
effluent
wastewater
pollution
contamination
fibre
exposure
distribution
evaluation
policy
flotation
industrial installation
particle

Cite this

Blumenröder, Julian ; Sechet, Pauline ; Kakkonen, Jenni Elina ; Hartl, Mark G. J. / Microplastic contamination of intertidal sediments of Scapa Flow, Orkney: a first assessment. In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. 2017 ; Vol. 124, No. 1. pp. 112-120.
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Microplastic contamination of intertidal sediments of Scapa Flow, Orkney: a first assessment. / Blumenröder, Julian; Sechet, Pauline; Kakkonen, Jenni Elina; Hartl, Mark G. J.

In: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 124, No. 1, 15.11.2017, p. 112-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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