Variation of microplastics in the shore sediment of high-altitude lakes of the Indian Himalaya using different pretreatment methods

Tenzin Tsering, Mika Sillanpää, Mirka Viitala, Satu Pia Reinikainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastics pollution is a growing environmental concern. However, microplastics studies in high altitude remote lakes are scarce. In this study, microplastics pollution was assessed in the shore sediment of three high altitude lakes in Ladakh of the Indian Himalaya, namely Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake and Tsokar Lake. Sampling of lakes shore sediment was performed in August 2019. Two different pretreatment methods were implemented with sediment samples from same sites, resulting two sets of samples. One set of samples was pretreated utilizing enzymatic degradation together with Fenton reactions. Another set of samples from the same sites were pretreated with 30 % hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and Fenton reaction. Enzymatically pretreated samples resulted in higher microplastics concentrations than the set of H2O2 pretreated samples, which indicated that microplastics concentrations in sediment samples varies even among samples from the same site and that the pretreatment procedure may impact on the reported microplastics concentrations. Considering both sets of samples, microplastic concentration was 160–1000 MP/kg dw in Pangong Lake, 960–3800 MP/kg dw in Tsomoriri Lake, and 160–1000 MP/kg dw in Tsokar Lake. Blank correction based on the limit of detection and the limit of quantification indicated that microplastics concentrations at some sites of the studied lakes are higher than the limit of detection and the limit of quantification. The findings of this study indicated that the studied lakes in the Indian Himalaya are contaminated with microplastics. In addition, the comparison of microplastics using different pretreatment methods illustrated the importance of harmonization of microplastics studies to enable a reliable comparison among microplastics data. Therefore, this study contributes towards an assessment of microplastics in the high-altitude lakes in Indian Himalaya. The findings attributed towards clearer understanding regarding the need of harmonization of pretreatment methods and demonstrated the importance of reporting complete information in microplastics research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157870
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022


  • Harmonization
  • Indian Himalaya
  • Microplastics sink
  • Pretreatment methods
  • Remote Lakes
  • Sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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