Time-varying microplastic contributions of a large urban and industrial area to river sediments - Université Gustave Eiffel Access content directly
Journal Articles Environmental Pollution Year : 2024

Time-varying microplastic contributions of a large urban and industrial area to river sediments

Abstract

The quantification of microplastic (MP) pollution in rivers is often constrained by a lack of historical data on a multi-decadal scale, which hinders the evaluation of public policies. In this study, MP contents and trends were analyzed in dated sediment cores sampled upstream and downstream of a large metropolis, in environmental deposits that exhibited consistent sedimentation patterns from the 1980s to 2021. After a thorough sedimen- tological analysis, MPs were quantified in samples by micro Fourier Transform InfraRed spectroscopy (μFTIR imaging) and a density separation and organic matter digestion procedure. Microplastics recorded in the up- stream core are relatively ubiquitous all along the dated sequence. The results also confirmed a sever increase of microplastics levels in the downstream core, by one order of magnitude, and an increase of polymer types. Polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene represent ubiquitous contamination and were predominant at the two stations, whereas polyvinyl chloride and polytetrafluoroethylene were suspected to be abundant at the downstream station, but were not detected at the upstream station. Their presence could be linked to local contamination from specific industrial sources that manufactured and utilized these polymers. Surprisingly, in the downstream station sediment has recorded a relative improvement in polymers associated with industrial sources since the 2000s and, to a lesser extent, for ubiquitous ones since the 2010s. This trend of mitigation diverges from that of global assessments, that assume uncontrolled MP pollution, and suggest that European Union wastewater policy and regulation on industrial discharges have positively influenced water quality, and certainly also on MPs. However, the accumulation of microplastics remains high in recent deposits and raises the emerging concern of the long-term management of these reservoirs.
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Dates and versions

hal-04493052 , version 1 (06-03-2024)

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E. Dhivert, J. Pruvost, T. Winiarski, Johnny Gasperi, F. Delor-Jestin, et al.. Time-varying microplastic contributions of a large urban and industrial area to river sediments. Environmental Pollution, 2024, 347, pp.123702. ⟨10.1016/j.envpol.2024.123702⟩. ⟨hal-04493052⟩
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