Quantification and polymer characterization of sediment microplastics along theGolden beach, Puri, India
Microplastics are a class of emerging pollutants of concern detected in beach sediments across the globe. Limitedresearch on the topic has been undertaken in India, despite extensive coastlines and the country's most crowded beaches. Thepresent study is a preliminary study on the quantification and characterization of microplastics in one of the most famoustourist destinations, the Golden beach of Puri, Odisha. An average count of 731±719 particles/kg dry weight of sedimentwas observed. Though ANOVA revealed a site-wise variation of microplastic types to be significantly different, Tukeyposthoc test of the particle’s diversity classified according to their major activity contributors did not show significantvariation. The fragments were the most abundant fraction with a total count of 2835 particles representing 39 % of the totalmicroplastics, followed by foams (29 %), fibers (14 %), films (11 % ), microbeads (5 %), and pellets (2 %) of the totalmicroplastic particles. Color classification revealed white, red, black, blue, green, and transparent microplastics to beabundant in all the sampling sites. Polymer characterization showed the presence of seven types of polymers being,High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polyurethane (PU), Polypropylene (PP),Polystyrene (PS), Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA), and Nylon. These preliminary findings would serve as an eye-openertoward the magnitude of microplastic pollution in the area and help opt for mitigatory measures to avoid further detrimentalimpacts on the ecosystem.
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