Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Multidecadal increase in plastic particles in coastal ocean sediments

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Science Advances  04 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax0587
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0587
  • Fig. 1 X-radiograph of sediment box core.

    Chronology was assigned by enumerating individual varve couplets. A bacterial mat 1 to 2 cm thick at the top of the core indicates that surficial sediments were intact.

  • Fig. 2 Plastic particles from box core.

    Examples of (A) fibers, (B) fragments, (C) film, and (D) spherical particles.

  • Fig. 3 FTIR spectra of plastic standards and sediment samples.

    PET, polyethylene terephthalate; LDPE, low-density PE; PS, polystyrene; PVC, polyvinyl chloride; HDPE, high-density PE; Unclear sediment sample, unidentified.

  • Fig. 4 The exponential increase in microplastic deposition in sediment is significantly correlated with the exponential increase in worldwide plastic production over the same time period (1945–2010).

    (A) Total plastic deposition rate over time, corrected for contamination. All four plastic types combined, 1945–2009, with average value from 1836–1945 subtracted. (B) Plastic deposition rate in sediment compared to worldwide plastic production, 1950–2010. Worldwide plastic production numbers from PlasticsEurope (8).

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/9/eaax0587/DC1

    Supplementary Text

    Fig. S1. Santa Barbara Basin bathymetry and sampling locations.

    Fig. S2. Size distribution of sampled particles.

    Fig. S3. Distribution of sampled particle types.

    Fig. S4. Deposition rates of individual plastic types over time, 1836–2009.

    Fig. S5. Plastic deposition and weather residuals.

    Fig. S6. Deposition rates of plastic types once contamination value removed.

    Table S1. FTIR spectroscopy survey of box core.

    References (3340)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Text
    • Fig. S1. Santa Barbara Basin bathymetry and sampling locations.
    • Fig. S2. Size distribution of sampled particles.
    • Fig. S3. Distribution of sampled particle types.
    • Fig. S4. Deposition rates of individual plastic types over time, 1836-2009.
    • Fig. S5. Plastic deposition and weather residuals.
    • Fig. S6. Deposition rates of plastic types once contamination value removed.
    • Table S1. FTIR spectroscopy survey of box core.
    • References (3340)

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