Microplastics Abundance, Characteristics, and Risk in Badagry Lagoon in Lagos State, Nigeria

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University Birnin Kebbi, PMB 1157, Kebbi State, Nigeria

2 Biology Unit, Distance Learning Institute, University of Lagos, Nigeria

3 Department of Environmental Science and Resources Management, National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria


Microplastics are widely used to manufacture diverse products such as textiles, skin care products, and household products such as detergents and soaps. However, microplastic pollution and its potential health risks are raising concerns worldwide. This study characterized and determined the safety of microplastics in water and sediments obtained from three locations, namely Ibeshe, Amuwo Odofin, and Ojo along Badagry lagoon, Lagos, Nigeria. The samples of the lagoon's surface water and sediments were treated and analyzed for the abundance of microplastics, as well as their shapes, sizes, and types of polymers. The risk index of the polymers in the microplastics was also estimated. Microplastics were found to be more abundant (p ≤ 0.05) in the sediments (283–315 particles/kg) than in the surface water (108–199 particles/L). In both the water and sediments at all the locations, the dominant shapes were fibers (52%–90%), followed by fragments (3%–32%) and films (1%–25%). In order of significance, the microplastic size range of 0-100µm and 100-500µm dominated the surface water, while the size range of 1000-5000µm and 500-1000µm dominated the sediments at all the locations. The dominant polymers in both the water and sediments at all the locations were polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyamide, while the least was polystyrene. In both the water and sediments at all the locations, the dominant risk score among the polymers is III (moderate risk). The results obtained suggest that microplastic pollution poses environmental and health risks to the lagoon, aquatic organisms, and humans. As such, the lagoon required microplastic remediation and control. 


Allouzi, M.M.A., Tang, D.Y.Y., Chew, K.W., Rinklebe, J., Bolan, N. and Allouzi, S.M.A. (2021). Micro (nano) plastic pollution: The ecological influence on soil-plant system and human health. Science of the Total Environment, 788:147815. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147815. 
Amato-Lourenço, L.F., Dos Santos Galvão, L., de Weger, L. A., Hiemstra, P. S., Vijver, M. G. and Mauad, T. (2020). An emerging class of air pollutants: Potential effects of microplastics to respiratory human health. The Science of the Total Environment, 749:141676. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141676. 
Barrett, J., Chase, Z., Zhang, J., Holl, M.M.B., Willis, K., Williams, A., Hardesty, B.D. and Wilcox, C. (2020). Microplastic Pollution in Deep-Sea Sediments from the Great Australian Bight. Frontiers in Marine Sciences, 7:576170. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.576170. 
Besseling, E., Redondo-Hasselerharm, P., Foekema, E.M. and Koelmans, A.A. (2018). Quantifying ecological risks of aquatic micro- and nanoplastic. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 49(1): 32–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/10643389.2018.15316.
Bhuyan, M.S. (2022). Effects of Microplastics on Fish and in Human Health. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 10:827289. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2022.827289.   
Blankson, E.R., Tetteh, P.N., Oppong, P. and Gbogbo, F. (2022). Microplastics prevalence in water, sediment and two economically important species of fish in an urban riverine system in Ghana. PLoS One, 17(2): e0263196. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263196. 
Bonanno, G. and Orlando-Bonaca, M. (2018). Ten inconvenient questions about plastics in the sea. Environmental Science and Policy, 85:146–154. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.04.005. 
Cheung, P.K. and Fok, L. (2017). Characterisation of plastic microbeads in facial scrubs and their estimated emissions in Mainland China. Water Research, 122:53-61.doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.05.053.  
Claudia, C., Carmine M., Ilaria, S., Vito, L. and Vito F.U. (2020). A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health. International Journal of Environmental Resource and Public Health, 17: 1212. doi:10.3390/ijerph17041212 
Dumbili, E. and Henderson, L. (2020). The challenge of plastic pollution in Nigeria. Plastic Waste and Recycling, 22: 569-583. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-817880-5.00022-0. 
Erni-Cassola, G., Zadjelovic, V., Gibson, M.I. and Christie-Oleza, J.A. (2019). Distribution of plastic polymer types in the marine environment; A meta-analysis. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 369: 691-698. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2019.02.067. 
Fred-Ahmadu, O.H., Ayejuyo, O.O. and Benson, N.U. (2020). Microplastics distribution and characterization in epipsammic sediments of tropical Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 38:101365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2020.101365. 
Frias, J. and Nash, R. (2018). Microplastics: Finding a consensus on the definition. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 138:145–147. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.022. 
Hale, R.C., Seeley, M.E., La Guardia, M.J., Mai, L. and Zeng, E.Y. (2020). A Global Perspective on Microplastics. Journal of Geographical Research- Oceans, 125 (1):e2018JC014719. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014719. 
Hahladakis, J.N., Velis, C.A., Weber, R., Iacovidou, E. and Purnell, P. (2018). An overview of chemical additives present in plastics: Migration, release, fate and environmental impact during their use, disposal and recycling. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 344:179-199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.10.014. 
Hartmann, N.B., Hüffer, T., Thompson, R.C., Hassellöv, M., Verschoor, A., Daugaard, A.E., Rist, S., Karlsson, T., Brennholt, N., Cole, M., Herrling, M. P., Hess, M. C., Ivleva, N. P., Lusher, A. L. and Wagner, M. (2019). Are we speaking the same language? Recommendations for a definition and categorization framework for plastic debris. Environmental Science and Technology, 53(3):1039–1047. http://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b05297.
Ilechukwu, I., Ndukwe, G.I., Mgbemena, N.M. and Akandu, A.U. (2019). Occurrence of Microplastics in Surface Sediments of Beaches in Lagos, Nigeria. European Chemical Bulletin 8(11):371-375. http://dx.doi.org/10.17628/ecb.2019.8.371-375. 
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) (2022). Marine plastic pollution. Available at https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/marine-plastic-pollution (Accessed March 28, 2022).
Jorquera, A., Castillo, C., Murillo, V., Araya, J., Pinochet, J., Narváez, D., Pantoja-Gutiérrez, S. and Urbina, M.A. (2022). Physical and anthropogenic drivers shaping the spatial distribution of microplastics in the marine sediments of Chilean fjords. Science of the Total Environment, 814: 152506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152506. 
Koleayo, O.O., Morufu, O.R., Temitope, O.W., Oluwaseun, E.O. and Amos, L.O. (2021). Public Health Knowledge and Perception of Microplastics Pollution: Lessons from the Lagos Lagoon. Preprint. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-506361/v1. 
Lehtiniemi, M., Hartikainen, S., Näkki, P., Engström-Öste, J., Koistinen, A. and Setälä, O. (2018). Size matters more than shape: Ingestion of primary and secondary microplastics by small predators. Food Webs, 17: e00097. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fooweb.2018.e00097. 
Lenaker, P.L., Baldwin, A.A., Corsi, S.R., Mason, S.A., Reneau, P.C. and Scott, J.W. (2019). Vertical Distribution of Microplastics in the Water Column and Surficial Sediment from the Milwaukee River Basin to Lake Michigan. Environmental Science and Technology, 53 (21):12227–12237. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b03850. 
Li, Y., Lu, Z., Zheng, H., Wang, J. and Chen, C. (2020). Microplastics in surface water and sediments of Chongming Island in the Yangtze Estuary, China. Environmental Sciences Europe, 32:15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-020-0297-7. 
Li, Y., Zhang, Y., Chen, G., Xu, K., Gong, H., Huang, K., Yan, M. and Wang, J. (2021). Microplastics in Surface Waters and Sediments from Guangdong Coastal Areas, South China. Sustainability, 13: 2691. https://doi.org/10.3390/su1305269. 
Lusher, A., Hollman, P. and Mendoza-Hill, J. (2017). Microplastics in fisheries and aquaculture: status of knowledge on their occurrence and implications for aquatic organisms and food safety. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper no 615. Available at https://www.fao.org/3/I7677E/I7677E.pdf (Accessed April 18, 20220.
Miraj, S.S., Parveen, N. and Zedan, H.S. (2021). Plastic microbeads: small yet mighty concerning. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 31 (7): 788-804. DOI: 10.1080/09603123.2019.1689233.
Olarinmoye, O.M, Stock, F., Scherf, N., Whenu, O., Asenime, C. and Ganzallo, S. (2020). Microplastic Presence in Sediment and Water of a Lagoon Bordering the Urban Agglomeration of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. Geosciences. 10: 494:1-14. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120494. 
Osorio, E.D., Tanchuling, M.A.N. and Diola, M.B.L.D. (2021). Microplastics Occurrence in Surface Waters and Sediments in Five River Mouths of Manila Bay. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 9:719274. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.719274. 
Peng, X., Chen, M., Chen, S., Dasgupta, S., Xu, H., Ta, K., Du, M., Li, J., Guo, Z. and Bai, S. (2018). Microplastics contaminate the deepest part of the world’s ocean. Geochemical Perspective Letters, 9:1-5. doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1829.  
Rahman, A., Sarkar, A., Yadav, O.M., Achari, G. and Slobodnik, J. (2021). Potential human health risks due to environmental exposure to nano- and microplastics and knowledge gaps: A scoping review. Science of the Total Environment, 757: 143872. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143872. 
Rakib, M.R.J., Hossain, M.B. and Kumar, R. (2022). Spatial distribution and risk assessments due to the microplastics pollution in sediments of Karnaphuli River Estuary, Bangladesh. Scientific Report, 12:8581. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12296-0. 
Ranjani, M., Veerasingam, S., Venkatachalapathy, R., Jinoj, T.P.S., Guganathan, L., Mugilarasan, M. and Vethamony, P. (2022). Seasonal variation, polymer hazard risk and controlling factors of microplastics in beach sediments along the southeast coast of India. Environmental Pollution, 305: 119315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119315. 
Rogers, K. (2020). Microplastics. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/technology/microplastic (Accessed March 28, 2022).
Sewport (2020). What Is Polypropylene Fabric? Available at https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/polypropylene-fabric# (Accessed April 17, 2022).
Sewport (2022). What Is Polyamide Fabric? Available at https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/polyamide-fabric (Accessed April 17, 2022).
Shamskhany, A., Li, Z., Patel, P. and Karimpour, S. (2021). Evidence of Microplastic Size Impact on Mobility and Transport in the Marine Environment: A Review and Synthesis of Recent Research. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8:760649. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.760649.  
Smith, M., Love, D.C., Rochman, C.M. and Neff, R.A. (2018). Microplastics in Seafood and the Implications for Human Health. Current Environmental Health Reports, 5(3):375–386. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-018-0206-z.
Vermaire, J.C., Pomeroy, C., Herczegh, S.M., Haggart, O. and Murphy, M. (2017). Microplastic abundance and distribution in the open water and sediment of the Ottawa River, Canada, and its tributaries. FACETS, 2(1): 301-314. https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2016-0070. 
Xu, P., Peng, G., Su, L., Gao, Y., Gao, L. and Li, D. (2018). Microplastic risk assessment in surface waters: A case study in the Changjiang Estuary, China. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 133: 647-653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.06.020.  
Yuan, Z., Nag, R. and Cummins, E. (2022). Ranking of potential hazards from microplastics polymers in the marine environment. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 429:128399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.128399.