Occurrence and characteristics of fibreglass-reinforced plastics and microplastics on a beach impacted by abandoned fishing boats: A case study from Chellanam, India
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Plastics and microplastics have been quantified and characterised at disposal sites of abandoned fishing boats and along the high-water line (HWL) of a fish landing centre in Chellanam, India. Fibreglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) made a greater contribution to the plastic pool at the disposal sites (~ 4.5 n m−2 and 18 g m−2) than the HWL (~ 0.25 n m−2 and < 1 g m−2) and was an abundant component of the microplastic pool at the former. Infrared analysis of micro-sized FRPs revealed various resins (e.g., alkyd, polyester, epoxy), while X-ray fluorescence analysis of the painted surfaces of meso-sized FRPs returned variable concentrations of copper and lead. Concentrations of Pb were high enough to contaminate sand up to ~400 mg kg−1. The relatively high density of FRP and its association with glass fibres and metal-bearing paints results in particles with potentially very different fates and toxicities to more “conventional” (non-composite) thermoplastics.
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