Marine Pollution Bulletin (2018)

Abstract

Despite Indonesia is considered as second of the top sources of marine plastic debris in the world’s there is few studied have been conducted on plastic debris in Indonesia more particularly in form of microplastics. By using a simple device to simultaneously grade floating microplastics, we investigated microplastic contamination in the ecosystem of small islands in Bintan Regency, Riau Island Province, Indonesia. The average number of floating microplastics from 11 beach stations around Bintan Island was 122.8 ± 67.8 pieces per station, which corresponds to 0.45 pieces per m3 and represents a low-medium microplastic pollution level compared to the levels of other marine environments worldwide. Polymer identification using Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) Spectroscopy successfully identified Polyethylene (PE) (17.3 ± 8.3 %), Low Density PE (17.6  ± 5.5 %), Oxidized LDPE (< 0.1 %), Polypropylene (PP) (54  ± 13 %), PP Atactic (< 0.4 %), PP isotactic (< 0.2 %) and Polystyrene (PS) (10.4 ± 9.1 %) from different forms and shapes of microplastics i.e., fragments (50.9 ± 4.9 %), fibers (26.2 ± 3 %), granule (13.1 ± 3.8 %) and films (9.8 ± 5.1 %). We suggest that the generation of these microplastics was likely due to physicochemical processes, including biological degradation in this tropical ecosystem. Environmental implication of microplastics in this area increase the problems associated with, ingestion, bioaccumulation and biomagnification accros trophic levels and co-pollutants absorbed onto microplastics.

Keywords: microplastics, small islands, ATR-FTIR, oxidized LDPE, anthropogenic, Indonesia

Highlights:

  • Simultaneous device separating microplastics
  • Small islands facing risk of plastic pollution
  • Low-medium microplastic pollution levels
  • Important color microplastics for ingesting
  • Secondary source of microplastics

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