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Article

Impact of Microplastic Fibers from the Degradation of Nonwoven Synthetic Textiles to the Magdalena River Water Column and River Sediments by the City of Neiva, Huila (Colombia)

1
Environmental Engineering Department, Corhuila University, Neiva 410005, Colombia
2
School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Gallogly College of Engineering, and Institute for Energy and the Environment, Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(4), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041210
Received: 30 March 2020 / Revised: 13 April 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 24 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Impacts of Contaminant Transport and Transformation)
Magdalena River surface water and shoreline sediments were sampled for microplastic particles at three locations in the city of Neiva, Colombia: upstream, city center, and downstream of the raw wastewater outflow. The absence of an industrial and manufacturing sector in Neiva provided an opportunity to assess the impact of upstream agricultural practices, as well as municipal activities such as wastewater outflow and laundry washing, on the quantity, polymer composition, and morphology of microplastic particles produced per capita and entering a river system. Microplastic particle concentrations increased with downstream distance, with microfiber concentrations ranging from 0.097 to 0.135 fibers/L in the river water and 25.5 to 102.4 fibers/kg in shoreline sediment. Microplastic fragment concentrations were 0.013–0.028 fragments/L in surface water and 10.4–12.7 fragments/kg of sediment. Raman microscope and scanning electron microscopy identified the relative composition of the polymers comprising the microplastic particles was similar regardless of sampling site or whether the sample was collected from the surface water or shoreline sediments, with polypropylene and polyethylene comprising at least 75% of the total polymers in all samples. Average fiber widths of < 20 µm in all but one sample, along with the lack of acrylic and polyester fibers used predominantly in woven synthetic textiles, indicated that the degradation of nonwoven synthetic textiles is the predominant origin of these microplastic fibers in the Magdalena River. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastics; water column; sediments; nonwoven fibers microplastics; water column; sediments; nonwoven fibers
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martínez Silva, P.; Nanny, M.A. Impact of Microplastic Fibers from the Degradation of Nonwoven Synthetic Textiles to the Magdalena River Water Column and River Sediments by the City of Neiva, Huila (Colombia). Water 2020, 12, 1210. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041210

AMA Style

Martínez Silva P, Nanny MA. Impact of Microplastic Fibers from the Degradation of Nonwoven Synthetic Textiles to the Magdalena River Water Column and River Sediments by the City of Neiva, Huila (Colombia). Water. 2020; 12(4):1210. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041210

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martínez Silva, Paula, and Mark A. Nanny. 2020. "Impact of Microplastic Fibers from the Degradation of Nonwoven Synthetic Textiles to the Magdalena River Water Column and River Sediments by the City of Neiva, Huila (Colombia)" Water 12, no. 4: 1210. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041210

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