Characterization and distribution of microplastics and plastic debris along Silver Beach, Southern India

The present study has tried to examine 28 sediment samples for microplastics and plastic debris contamination along Silver Beach, Southern India. Visual identification followed by FT-IR spectroscopy was used to estimate the overall distribution and characterization of plastic debris. The results indicate white-colored (44%) and irregularly-shaped (82%) plastics are prevalent in the study area. Also, the dominant polymer in the study area is polyvinyl chloride (79%) followed by polyethylene (14%) and nylon (7%). Based on size fractions, mesoplastics are widely distributed in the beach sediments (65%), followed by microplastics (18%) and macroplastics (17%). The regional sources of plastic debris are tourism and fishing activities followed by storm water runoff through the Gadilam river and wave-induced deposition through high tides. Strict policy measures need to be implemented in recreational beaches like Silver beach to reduce plastic pollution.

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