Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fallout: a source of microplastics in the environment? - École des Ponts ParisTech Access content directly
Journal Articles Marine Pollution Bulletin Year : 2016

Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fallout: a source of microplastics in the environment?

Abstract

Sources, pathways and reservoirs of microplastics, plastic particles smaller than 5 mm, remain poorly documented in an urban context. While some studies pointed out wastewater treatment plants as a potential pathway of microplastics, none have focused on the atmospheric compartment. In this work, the atmospheric fallout of microplastics was investigated in two different urban and sub-urban sites. Microplastics were collected continuously with a stainless steel funnel. Samples were then filtered and observed with a stereomicroscope. Fibers accounted for almost all the microplastics collected. An atmospheric fallout between 2 and 355 particles/m2/day was highlighted. Registered fluxes were systematically higher at the urban than at the sub-urban site. Chemical characterization allowed to estimate at 29% the proportion of these fibers being all synthetic (made with petrochemicals), or a mixture of natural and synthetic material. Extrapolation using weight and volume estimates of the collected fibers, allowed a rough estimation showing that between 3 and 10 tons of fibers are deposited by atmospheric fallout at the scale of the Parisian agglomeration every year (2500 km²). These results could serve the scientific community working on the different sources of microplastic in both continental and marine environments.
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Dates and versions

hal-01251430 , version 1 (23-05-2018)

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Rachid Dris, Johnny Gasperi, Mohammed Saad, Cécile Mirande-Bret, Bruno Tassin. Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fallout: a source of microplastics in the environment?. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2016, ⟨10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.01.006⟩. ⟨hal-01251430⟩
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