1Department of Fisheries Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Fisheries, Minato, Tokyo 108-8477, 2Division of Chem-Bio Informatics, National Institute of Health Sciences, Setagaya, Tokyo 158-8501, 3Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, 4Japan Environmental Action Network, Kokubunji, Tokyo 185-0021, Japan
Resin pellets as a raw material of industrial plastic products are widespread in the coastal waters and beaches of the world. In this study, the distribution and abundance of the pellets were investigated on the coastal area (30 beaches) of Tokyo Bay and Sagami Bay. In most stations surveyed, the pellets were found (93% of total stations) and were particularly abundant at Kugenuma Beach, Nojima Seaside Park, Jonanjima Seaside Park and Kasai Seaside Park. The Highest density of the pellets on a beach exceeded 1,000/m2. From near infra-red spectrometry analyses, the pellets on most beaches were found to be comprised mostly of polyethylene (60%) and polypropylene (35%) which are very common constituents of plastic productions in Japan. Effluent from plastics manufacturers was suggested to be the major source of the pellets in the coastal areas of Tokyo Bay and Sagami Bay.