High-levels of microplastic pollution in a large, remote, mountain lake

Despite the large and growing literature on microplastics in the ocean, little information exists on microplastics in freshwater systems. This study is the first to evaluate the abundance, distribution, and composition of pelagic microplastic pollution in a large, remote, mountain lake. We quantified pelagic microplastics and shoreline anthropogenic debris in Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia. With an average microplastic density of 20,264 particles km-2, Lake Hovsgol is more heavily polluted with microplastics than the more developed Lakes Huron and Superior in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Fragments and films were the most abundant microplastic types; no plastic microbeads and few pellets were observed. Household plastics dominated the shoreline debris and were comprised largely of plastic bottles, fishing gear, and bags. Microplastic density decreased with distance from the southwestern shore, the most populated and accessible section of the park, and was distributed by the prevailing winds. These results demonstrate that without proper waste management, low-density populations can heavily pollute freshwater systems with consumer plastics.

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Work Title High-levels of microplastic pollution in a large, remote, mountain lake
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Open Access
Creators
  1. Christopher M. Free
  2. Olaf P. Jensen
  3. Sherri A. Mason
  4. Marcus Eriksen
  5. Nicholas J. Williamson
  6. Bazartseren Boldgiv
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
Publisher
  1. Marine Pollution Bulletin
Publication Date August 15, 2014
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.06.001
Deposited November 17, 2021

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  • Created
  • Added High-levels_of_microplastic_pollution_in_a_large__remote__mountain_lake.pdf
  • Added Creator Christopher M. Free
  • Added Creator Olaf P. Jensen
  • Added Creator Sherri A. Mason
  • Added Creator Marcus Eriksen
  • Added Creator Nicholas J. Williamson
  • Added Creator Bazartseren Boldgiv
  • Published
  • Updated
  • Updated