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Microplastics have been discovered in beaches, the water’s surface, columns, and benthic sediment in the maritime environment. This exploratory study aims to advance the findings of prior investigations into the effects of microplastics on bivalves by pinpointing the locations and types of microplastic contamination along the Bay of Bengal (BoB) coast. The methods used in the study were chosen for their ease of use, cheap cost, ability to retain plastic polymers, suitability for removing biogenic material, and efficiency in removing plastics from the intestinal contents of bivalves while ensuring their exact size, shape, and colour. Between October and November of 2022, specimens of 100 Indian backwater oysters (Crassostrea madrasensis) and 20 green mussels (Perna viridis) were collected from specific locations along the coast. By dissolving the stomachs of the mussels and oysters in a 30% hydrogen peroxide solution, incubating the mixture for 48 hours at 60°C, and then filtering the leftover homogenate, suspected plastics were removed from the animals. Plastic identification was established for suspected particles by combining chemical and optical methods. Control of contamination was maintained during the processing and analysis—all of the individual bivalves from each of the four sites contained plastics. The average overall plastic burden was 5.29 items/gut weight, or 37.68 items /individual. The three main components of bivalve plastics were fibres (66%), pieces (12%), and particles (22%). The high concentration of microplastics in the water indicated that the coastal area is likely home to many microplastics.
Keywords: microplastic, Bay of Bengal, bioaccumulation, Perna viridis, Crassostrea madrasensis, Bivalves