The distribution of microplastics (MPs) was investigated in the sediments of five sampling sites from the northern Tunisian coast during June 2017. MPs were categorized according to type, colour and size. Representative MPs from the five sites were isolated for polymer identification using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy in attenuated total reflectance mode (FTIR-ATR). Results showed that MPs were recovered, from all sediment samples, indicating for the first time, their extensive distribution in Tunisian coast. Concentrations varied from 141.20 ± 25.98 to 461.25 ± 29.74 items kg−1 dry weight. Fibres, fragments, Styrofoam®, pellets and films were the types registered in this study. With the exception of Menzel Bourguiba (MB), fibres significantly outnumbered plastic particles followed by fragments, Styrofoam®, films and pellets. The predominant colours are as follows: black > clear > white > red > blue > green for fibres, blue > white > clear > red > green > yellow > black for fragments, blue > white > black > clear for films while only white pellets and Styrofoam® were found. MPs particles ranged from 0.1 to 5 mm in length. A total of three polymer types were identified, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS). Except for industrial pellets, the presence of MPs is likely due to the degradation of marine plastic debris accumulating in each site. This work provides original data of the presence of MPs in coastal sediments from Northern Tunisian coast.
- Northern Tunisia