Sources of microplastics pollution in the marine environment: Importance of wastewater treatment plant and coastal landfill
This study investigated the role of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent and an abandoned coastal landfill as pathways for microplastics (MPs) input into the marine environment. MPs were first analyzed in raw sewage influent, sludge and effluent samples, and their fate was studied along a distance gradient from the WWTP in three matrices: surface water, sediments and wild mussels. All suspected MPs were characterized according to their polymer nature using micro-Raman spectroscopy. The investigated WWTP had an estimated daily discharge of 227 million MPs. MPs were found in all matrices with a decreasing abundance from the effluent. Strong MPs abundances (higher than those found near the WWTP effluent) were observed in the vicinity of the coastal landfill suggesting its importance as a MPs entry route into the marine coastal environment. Our study supports the idea that blue mussels are a promising sentinel species for MPs (<200 μm).