Characterization of plastic debris from surface waters of the eastern Arabian Sea–Indian Ocean

S.a. Naidu, L. Mawii, V. Ranga Rao, G. Anitha, P. Mishra, Bhavani E. Narayanaswamy, V. Anil Kumar, M.v. Ramana Murthy, Gupta Gvm

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The quantity of floating plastic debris (FPD) is continuously being increased in the oceans. To assess their size, structure, and composition along the eastern Arabian Sea (EAS), FPD samples were collected by using a surface plankton net. The microplastic size fraction (0.5–5 mm) was the most prevalent accounting for >50% of the total, followed by mesoplastics (5–25 mm; ~40%) and macroplastics (>25 mm; ~10%). The collected FPDs were categorized into five different types and eight colours. Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (ATR-FTIR) analysis of the plastics revealed that polypropylene, polyethylene, and nylon were the most dominant polymers, and these comprised mostly of fibre/fishing line. The abundance of FPD in the EAS (0.013 ± 0.012 no.s/m3) was found to be very low compared to elsewhere. The prevalent microplastics presence in the oceans might have occurred mainly by the degradation of larger items. It increases bioavailability, and hence, is a risk to marine ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112468
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue numberAugust 2021
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • Plastic pollution
  • macroplastics
  • mesoplastics
  • microplastics
  • SEM analysis


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