Microplastics in the beach sediments around the Ras Rakan Island, Qatar
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The ubiquitous microplastic (MP) pollution is an emerging environmental issue in the marine environment. In this study, historical accumulation trends of MPs in the beach sediments around the Ras Rakan Island of Qatar have been established. The vertical distribution of MPs ranged from 0 to 665 particles/kg with maximum abundance at the surface layer (0-5 cm). Pellets were the dominant type of MPs in the surface sediments, whereas fibers were dominant in the bottom sediments. The polymer composition of MPs was identified using Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Polystyrene (EPS) were the abundant polymers present in the sediments. High MP concentrations were found in the western and northern parts of the island. The prevailing winds, waves, tides and currents are the forces responsible for the distribution and transport of MPs from the offshore to the island and further to vertical re-distribution as time progresses. The level of MP pollution along the Coast of Ras Rakan Island was higher than that found on the coast of mainland Qatar. This informs that remote islands should also be considered for MP pollution monitoring to assess the risk associated with MP on the biota.