Plastics and the Environment

Plastic pollution: European farmland could be largest global reservoir of microplastics

Microplastics pose serious threats to the soil ecosystem by leaching toxic chemicals and transporting hazardous pathogens.

The amount of microplastics found in European farmland soil mirrors the concentration found in ocean surface waters. Image: Unsplash/Dylan de Jonge

James Lofty
PhD Candidate in Hydrodynamics, Cardiff University
Pablo Ouro
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Fellow in Marine Engineering, University of Manchester
Valentine Muhawenimana
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environmental Engineering, Cardiff University
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Plastics and the Environment

Microplastics filtered from sewage sludge at the wastewater treatment plant.
Microplastic-laden fertilizers are derived from sewage sludge diverted from wastewater treatment plants. Image: James Lofty

What is the World Economic Forum doing about plastic pollution?

Map of Europe showing the amount of microplastic per square meter of agricultural land recycled to soils via sewage sludge every year.
The UK has the highest amount of microplastic pollution within its soils among all European nations. Image: James Lofty
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Related topics:
Plastics and the EnvironmentAgriculture, Food and BeverageFuture of the Environment
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