Microplastics are known to be an increasing component found within both marine sediments and the water column. This study carried out an initial assessment of the levels of microplastics present within the Solent estuarine complex, focusing specifically on the water column. A plankton net trawl survey was carried out, with samples analysed using visual observation and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). The study identified significant quantities of plastics, ranging in shape, with hot spots found at confluence points within the estuary. Though the FT-IR analysis was inconclusive, the nature of the samples indicates the effect of oceanographic conditions on the prevalent types of microplastics found, which in turn identifies key local sources such as wastewater treatment plants and the plastics industry as being the dominant inputs.
Gallagher, A., Rees, A., Rowe, R., Stevens, J., & Wright, P. (2015). Microplastics in the Solent estuarine complex, UK: An initial assessment. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 102(2), 243-249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.04.002