Abundance, spatial distribution, and physical characteristics of microplastics in stormwater detention ponds

MM Ashiq, F Jazaei, K Bell, ASA Ali, A Bakhshaee, P Babakhani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite extensive research on microplastics (MP) in marine environments, little is known about MP abundance and transport in terrestrial systems. There is, therefore, still little understanding of the main mechanisms driving the substantial transport of MP across different environmental compartments. Storm events can transport MP beyond boundaries, such as from the land to groundwater or the ocean, as has already been discovered for organic carbon transport. Urban stormwater detention ponds are suitable environments to study the impact of stormwater on the environmental fate and transport of MP. Herein, we investigate the longitudinal and vertical distribution of MP within two detention ponds with different physical characteristics. Soil samples were collected at various locations and from multiple depths (surface and subsurface layers) for measuring MP concentrations using fluorescence microscopy. Our findings show that MP are retained more near the inlet of the ponds, and MP of larger sizes were found more abundantly near inlets than outlets. We also found that MP mass and sizes decrease from surface soil to subsurface soil. In the pond, where vegetation (grass root network) was more considerable, MP were found more evenly distributed along the depth. In terms of shape, the fragments were the most abundant MP shape.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number10
Early online date10 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • Detention ponds
  • Environmental transport
  • Microplastic
  • Soil pollution
  • Stormwater


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