The Contamination of Microplastics in Marine Environment: Occurrence, Distribution, Effects, and Health Impacts
Plastic waste is an emerging contaminant of catastrophic ecological consequence due to its voluminous production globally and recalcitrant nature in marine environments. There are multiple pathways for plastic waste entering beaches and worldwide oceans, such as rivers, atmospheric transport, and disposing wastes from human activities of aquaculture, navigation and fishery. Therefore, the marine environment is considered to be the ultimate convergence point of MPs. It is important to understand the size, abundance, and source of MPs in the marine environment, as this will affect the encounter probability and availability to aquatic biota. Specifically, the uptake of hazardous chemicals by MPs may affect the distribution and bioavailability of the chemicals. Moreover, MPs can directly or indirectly induce an alarmingly rapid deterioration of coral reefs via a multitude of pathways. In this research, we will provide an overview on the occurrence, distribution, effects, and health impacts of MPs in marine environment, including (i) reveal the abundance, morphological characteristics, composition, spatial distribution of the MPs in seawater, sediments, and corals, (ii) investigate the adsorption characteristics of persistent organic pollutants, heavy metal, and antibiotics on MPs, and (iii) evaluate the ecological impact of MPs on the coral reef ecosystems. This study will provide an insight into the research on the distribution of MPs in the marine environment, it is critical to also understand the concentration and origin of pollutants related to MPs, in order to assess the impact of MPs on the marine environment and develop well-informed prevention and management strategies.
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