Plastic Pollution of the Coastal Surface Water in the Middle and Southern Baikal


For the first time, the concentration of plastic particles in surface water of Lake Baikal was evaluated. The concentrations of plastic particles were evaluated in trawl samples taken in the coastal zone of the most densely populated southeastern coast and in the Maloe More―one of the most popular tourist zones in Baikal. Converted to water surface area, the concentration of plastic particles varied from 19 000 to 75 000 per 1 km2, at an average of 42 000 particles per 1 km2, suggesting a high level of plastic pollution. By their chemistry, the particles were classified as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. The microplastic found in the study is assumed to be the product of decay of various domestic packing materials.

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The authors are grateful to colleagues from ANO Baikal Interactive Ecological Center, Irkutsk, and personally M.P. Rikhvanova for their help in the implementation of this study.


This study was carried out under the Development Program of Moscow State University up to 2020, the priority direction “Rational Nature Development and Sustainable Development of Russian Regions.” The study was also supported by the Global Greengrants Fund, project no. 60-184.

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Correspondence to O. V. Il’ina.

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Translated by G. Krichevets

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Il’ina, O.V., Kolobov, M.Y. & Il’inskii, V.V. Plastic Pollution of the Coastal Surface Water in the Middle and Southern Baikal. Water Resour 48, 56–64 (2021).

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  • freshwater ecosystems
  • plastic pollution
  • qualitative analysis
  • microplastic
  • Lake Baikal