Microplastic baseline and monitoring study in the Gulf of Thailand
PTTEP and Kasetsart University work together under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote ocean sustainability through implementing the baseline study and monitoring of microplastics to define the marine debris situation in the Gulf of Thailand, which is a now critical aspect, both national and international levels.
The project has been collecting seawater for microplastic study since October 2020. PTTEP utilizes PTTEP’s petroleum platforms as sampling sites to collect seawater samples to analyze the amount of microplastic particles and identify the type of plastics found. Seawater samples have been regularly collected by PTTEP’s offshore staff who are trained to collect seawater samples for routine monitoring. In addition, seawater samples have also been collected around Koh Losin in Pattani province, a coastal area in Chumphon province, and Koh Tao in Surat Thani province throughout 4 seasons over a year in order to compare the results.
The collected seawater samples were delivered to the Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Fisheries, Kasetsart University, where the samples were analyzed for the amount of microplastic particles and types of found plastic by a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophoto Meter (FTIR) which is an advanced technology instrument and international certified standard.
PTTEP has completed our microplastic baseline study around the offshore petroleum fields in the Gulf of Thailand in 2021. The results have shown that the estuary of Chao Phraya River had the highest average amount of microplastic particles. This result also supports the assumption that coastal areas close to communities will have a higher amount of microplastic particles when compared to offshore areas. In addition, PTTEP and Kasetsart University will continuously monitor the microplastic situation in the Gulf of Thailand over the cycle of 2 years, aiming to expand to more seawater sampling sites covering all PTTEP’s offshore petroleum fields. The microplastic data gathered from offshore areas have been the most distant data available in Thailand and is connected to government and relevant agencies databases to support the integration of ocean waste management (nearshore-mid shore-offshore), which will consequently lead to the concrete improvement of marine resources conservation.