Interrelationship of microplastic pollution in sediments and oysters in a seaport environment of the eastern coast of Australia

Sayka Jahan*, Vladimir Strezov, Haftom Weldekidan, Ravinder Kumar, Tao Kan, Samuel Asumadu Sarkodie, Jing He, Behnam Dastjerdi, Scott P. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Since the middle of the twentieth century, microplastics have emerged as a pollutant of concern. Sea ports are recipients of large amount of discharges through ballast water, ship traffic and other commercial activities, which may additionally add to the overall marine microplastic pollution. The aim of this study was to determine the interrelationship of microplastic pollution in the sediments and oysters at six major seaports (Port Jackson, Botany, Kembla, Newcastle, Yamba and Eden) of New South Wales (NSW). The results revealed the significant abundance of microplastic particles both in sediments and oysters in all the studied seaports which were estimated to be around 83–350 particles/kg dry weight in the sediments and 0.15–0.83 particles/g wet weight in the oysters. Although, the abundance of microplastics showed similar pattern in the sediments and oysters of the studied seaports, oysters had higher number of microplastics than sediments in all sea ports. Moreover, the results showed that the shapes, size and colours in the oysters did not necessarily match the main components in the sediments, although the polymer types matched well between each other. Black fibres between 0.1 mm–0.5 mm in size were the most abundant microplastics in oysters, whereas white spherules between 0.5 mm–1 mm in size were dominant in the sediments of NSW seaports. Moreover, the analysis of variance between microplastic abundance in sediment and oysters showed a non-significant positive linear relationship. Fourier Transform Infrared analysis further indicated that both sediments and oysters contained microplastics with two main polymers, polyethylene terephthalate and nylon, which suggests that the abundance of microplastics in the study ports was highly influenced by the port activities, mainly the intensive commercial fishing and fish processing activities along with intensive anthropogenic and industrial activities inside and surroundings the port environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number133924
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


    • Microplastics
    • Oyster
    • Seaport
    • Sediment


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