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Table 1 Comparison of floating microplastic abundance and sampling method used in estuaries worldwide

From: Microplastics in surface water and sediments of Chongming Island in the Yangtze Estuary, China

Study estuariesLocationSampling method and mesh size (μm)Sampling volume (L)Abundance
(items m−3)
Tampa BaySoutheast USA, North AmericaWater sampler-1.21940.0[35]
Charleston Harbor and Winyah BaySoutheast USA, North AmericaWater Sampler-6346 600.0
30 800.0
Charleston HarborSoutheast USA, North AmericaWater Sampler-6342 750.0–36 500.0[37]
German Baltic coastGermany, EuropeWater sampler-555–100.0–5000.0[38]
Pearl River EstuarySouth China, AsiaWater sampler-50208902.0[39]
Yangtze EstuaryEast China, AsiaPump-30010067.5This study
Mdloti Estuary
uMgeni Estuary
Durban Harbour
Isipingo Estuary
iLovu Estuary
South Africa, AfricaNet-30010 0001.1
Goiana EstuaryNortheast Brazil, South AmericaNet-300100 0000.1[41]
Tampa BaySoutheast USA, North AmericaNet-330/4.5[35]
The UK Channel, North, and Celtic Sea areaNorthwest EuropeNet-333/0–1.5[42]
Tamar EstuaryEngland, EuropeNet-300/0.028[43]
  1. Abundances are expressed as items per cubic meter. The upper parts are small-volume sampling methods, while the lower parts are bulk volume sampling methods. ‘/’ means the sampling volume is unknown, nets are often towed at ~ 2 knots for a certain time