Contamination of sea surface water offshore the Tokai region and Tokyo Bay in Japan by small microplastics

Haodong Xu, Haruka Nakano, Tadashi Tokai, Tadashi Miyazaki, Hiroaki Hamada, Hisayuki Arakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A nested double neuston net was prepared and used to collect samples from the surface of coastal waters around Japan to obtain information about the properties of both small microplastics (SMPs; <350 μm) and large microplastics (LMPs; >350 μm). The SMP concentrations ranged from 1000 to 5900 pieces m−3 in the open ocean and averaged approximately 3000 pieces m−3 in the inner part of Tokyo Bay. The SMP concentrations were around 20–60 times greater than the LMP concentrations. By analyzing the seawater, we obtained a microplastic size distribution that spanned 50–5000 μm. The LMPs mainly comprised packaging-related plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene, while the SMPs were dominated by paint-related plastics. SMPs derived from packaging materials (e.g., PE) may have gradually sank down from the sea surface when they were smaller than 600 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114245
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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