Atmospheric microplastic transport and deposition to urban and pristine tropical locations in Southeast Asia

Yet Yin Hee, Norfazrin Mohd Hanif, Keith Weston, Mohd Talib Latif, Suhaimi Suratman, Mohd Uzair Rusli, Andrew G. Mayes

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Atmospheric microplastic transport is an important delivery pathway with the deposition of microplastics to ecologically important regions raising environmental concerns. Investigating atmospheric delivery pathways and their deposition rates in different ecosystems is necessary to understanding its global impact. In this study, atmospheric deposition was collected at three sites in Malaysia, two urban and one pristine, covering the Northeast and Southwest monsoons to quantify the role of this pathway in Southeast Asia. Air mass back trajectories showed long-range atmospheric transport of microplastics to all sites with atmospheric deposition varying from 114 to 689 MP/m2/day. For the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, monsoonal season influenced microplastic transport and deposition rate with peak microplastic deposition during the Northeast monsoon due to higher wind speed. MP morphology combined with size fractionation and plastic type at the coastal sites indicated a role for long-range marine transport of MPs that subsequently provided a local marine source to the atmosphere at the coastal sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number166153
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date8 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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