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Microplastics in the water and sediments from the estuary of the Amazon River (AmazonMicroplast)

Abstract

Microplastics (MPs) are emerging pollutants found in all types of environments. The presence of MPs in continental aquatic environments has been reported only in the last ten years in the scientific literature, exponentially growing over the previous five years. In Brazil, there are still few studies published for these environments, mainly in water and sediment. Although the Amazon River has a significant capacity for self-purification due to its size and hydrological characteristics, a study in the North Equatorial Current pointed out that the highest concentration of some plastic additives is precisely in the region of the Amazon plume in the North Atlantic. This project will act on the frontier of knowledge in the area, addressing the presence of MPs in the low estuary of the Amazon River and the role of such MPs as vectors of metals in aquatic environments, with the following objectives: (i) detecting the presence of MPs in the low estuary of the Amazon River, characterizing them according to their physical and chemical properties; (ii) estimate the amount of MPs in the water column and sediments in two different seasonal periods, checking for possible spatial and temporal differences; (iii) relate the results of this project with hydrodynamic data to be obtained in partner research projects; (iv) evaluate the role of those MPs as metal environmental vectors. The project will analyze 52 water samples (12 from surface and 40 at different depth levels) and 12 sediment samples, collected in December/21 and July/22 during the low tide in the North Canal and South Canal, vicinity of Macapá (AP). Partner projects financed by Fapesp will carry out samplings. The processing and analysis of samples will follow the literature methods performed with quality control protocols. The results may expand the understanding of the relationship between large river systems and the ocean in terms of MP pollution and serve as a reference for carrying out studies on the distribution and dispersion of MPs in fluvial systems. (AU)

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