Distribution and source of microplastics in China's second largest reservoir - Danjiangkou Reservoir

John C. Crittenden , Li Lin , Xiong Pan , Sheng Zhang , Danwen Li , Wenliang Zhai , Zhen Wang , Jingxiang Tao , Changqing Mi , Qingyun Li


Received July 25, 2020,Revised , Accepted September 17, 2020, Available online September 28, 2020

Volume 102,2021,Pages 74-84

Fresh water microplastic pollution is of pressing concern globally, but its distribution and sources in reservoirs are poorly documented. Danjiangkou Reservoir is the second largest reservoir in China and is divided into the Han Reservoir and Dan Reservoir. In this work, microplastic abundances and morphological characteristics of the reservoir were investigated. The microplastic abundance of 15 main tributaries of the reservoir was also measured. The vertical distribution (in water column and sediment), horizontal distribution (in Han Reservoir and Dan Reservoir) and source of microplastics were analyzed. Microplastics accumulated in the middle layer of the reservoir, and the size and color of the microplastic particles changed from the surface to the bottom, which implies that surveys of surface water are not enough to determine the microplastic contamination for deep water reservoirs. In the surface water, the microplastic abundance in the Han Reservoir was lower than that in the Dan Reservoir (p < 0.05), but microplastic abundance did not differ significantly in the intermediate and bottom water. Tributaries were one of the main sources of microplastics for Han Reservoir but not for Dan Reservoir. Agricultural cultivation in the hydro-fluctuation belt might be an important source of microplastics in the Dan Reservoir, which should be given additional attention. The results of this study can provide valuable information for developing microplastic sampling strategies in deep water reservoirs. Further studies are recommended to investigate the process through which microplastics in the hydro-fluctuation belt enter the reservoir and the sinking behavior of microplastics in the reservoir.

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