Synthetic microfibers in marine sediments and surface seawater from the Argentinean continental shelf and a Marine Protected Area
In this work, samples were collected from the Argentinean continental shelf –including a Marine Protected Area (MPA) - to assess the occurrence and distribution of synthetic microfibers (MFs), a widespread type of microplastic. MFs were present at 100% of the samples showing an average concentration of 182.85 ± 115.14 particles per Kg of dry sediment and 0.14 ± 0.08 items per m3 of marine water. MFs less than 1 mm were the most abundant (56.4% and 63%, for sediment and surface seawater respectively), followed by 1–2 mm and then 2–3 mm. In regards to the colour, both sediments and water had the major percentage of black MFs (25.6% and 28%, respectively) and the lowest one of green MFs (2.5% and 3%, respectively). Finally, MFs content in sediments was inversely correlated with depth (r = -0.93, p < 0.05). These findings provide the first evidence of microplastic contamination at the Argentinean continental shelf.