Underwater hidden microplastic hotspots: Historical ocean dumping sites SCIE SCOPUS

Cited 4 time in WEB OF SCIENCE Cited 4 time in Scopus
Underwater hidden microplastic hotspots: Historical ocean dumping sites
Eo, So Eun; Hong, Sang Hee; Song, Young Kyoung; Han, Gi Myung; Seo, S.; Park, Young Gyu; Shim, Won Joon
KIOST Author(s)
Eo, So Eun(어소은)Hong, Sang Hee(홍상희)Han, Gi Myung(한기명)Park, Young Gyu(박영규)Shim, Won Joon(심원준)
Alternative Author(s)
어소은; 홍상희; 한기명; 박영규; 심원준
Publication Year
Three ocean dumping sites located in the Yellow Sea (YS) and East Sea (ES) of South Korea have accumulated terrestrial waste from 1988 to 2015. Most of this waste comprised industrial wastewater and sewage sludge, which are sources of microplastics. In this study, we investigated the spatiotemporal distribution and characteristics of microplastics in surface and core sediments of the YS, South Sea (SS) and ES, including at dumping sites (YDP and EDP). The mean abundance of microplastics in surface sediments was ranked in order of EDP (59,457 ± 49,130 particles/kg d.w.), ES (5,047 ± 9,404 particles/kg d.w.), YDP (3,965 ± 3,213 particles/kg d.w.), SS (314 ± 488 particles/kg d.w.) and YS (288 ± 400 particles/kg d.w.). EDP and YDP showed about 14- and 12-fold higher microplastic abundances, and more diverse polymer compositions, than the ES and YS, respectively. The historical trend of microplastic pollution in age-dated core sediments from EDP and YDP aligned well with the amount of historical ocean dumping. As the level of ocean dumping has gradually reduced since 2006, and was finally banned in 2015, the microplastic abundance decreased accordingly. Interestingly, spherical polystyrene (PS) primary microplastic was the dominant type in EDP sediments (78%) and other surface sediments in the ES (52%). More than 60 million tons of sewage and wastewater sludge were dumped at EDP, and extremely high abundances of up to 130,000 particles/kg d.w. were observed in EDP surface sediments. PS primary microplastics were continuously present in the EDP and ES sediment cores in the dumping period and are suspected to have originated from industrial wastewater sludge. The particle transportation model results showed that PS was dispersed throughout the ES during ocean dumping. In addition, deep circulation can contribute to the dispersion of particles after sinking. These results indicate that ocean dumping sites represent an underwater hotspot and source of microplastics in seafloor sediments. © 2022
Bibliographic Citation
Water Research, v.216, 2022
Elsevier Ltd
Deep-sea; Microplastics; Ocean dumping; Sediment; Continental shelf; Core
Document Type
Elsevier Ltd
Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.


Items in ScienceWatch@KIOST are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.