Microplastic abundance in the Thames River during the New Year period

Article


Devereux, R., Westhead, E., Jayaratne, R. and Newport, D. 2022. Microplastic abundance in the Thames River during the New Year period. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 177 (Art. 113534). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.113534
AuthorsDevereux, R., Westhead, E., Jayaratne, R. and Newport, D.
Abstract

Microplastic pollution is widely studied; however, research into the effects of large-scale firework displays and the impact on surrounding waterways appears to be lacking. This study is potentially the first to look at microplastic abundance in rivers after a major firework event. To assess the impact of the 2020 New Year's firework display in London, a 3 litre water sample was collected over nine consecutive days at Westminster on the River Thames. A total of 2760 pieces of microplastics (99% fibres) were counted using light microscopy, and further analysis was performed on representative plastic samples (354) using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Whilst anthropogenic microfibres made up 11%, most microplastic identified (13.3%) were polychloroprene. This study demonstrates the occurrence of a short-term influx of microplastics in the River Thames following the New Year fireworks, which will have an additional detrimental impact on the ecology and aquaculture of the river and neighbouring waterways.

KeywordsMicroplastics; River Thames; Microfibres; New Year fireworks
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Journal citation177 (Art. 113534)
ISSN0025-326X
Year2022
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
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Repository staff only
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.113534
Publication dates
Online15 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Mar 2022
Deposited05 Apr 2022
Copyright holder© 2022 The Authors
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