A probabilistic risk assessment of microplastics in soil ecosystems

Plastics have a variety of applications due to their versatility, relative cost, and strength-to-weight ratio, and resistance to degradation. As a result, plastic waste can be found in all corners of the Earth. A class of plastic contaminants that have received increasing attention in terms of their potential impact on ecosystems is microplastics (≤5 mm). The greatest attention to date has been on their potential effect in marine ecosystems. However, a growing number of studies are examining their potential impact on soil ecosystems. The data reported in the literature on the environmentally-relevant concentrations of microplastics in soils and the concentration of microplastics that causes an adverse effect in soil biota were used to perform a probabilistic risk assessment of microplastics to soil biota. An environmental exposure distribution was constructed from the concentrations of microplastics reported in soil in the literature. Species sensitivity distributions were constructed using concentration of microplastics in soil that had no adverse effect on soil species (NOEC) or the lowest concentrations that had an adverse effect on soil species (LOEC) reported in the literature. The 95th centile of the environmental exposure distribution (8147 microplastic particles per gram of soil) was greater than 22 and 28% of the species sensitivity distribution constructed using NOECs and LOECs, respectively. The assessment concluded that environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastics reported in the literature could pose a considerable risk to soil biota. It is also important to note that due to the continued production of large quantities of plastic and the persistence of microplastics in the environment, environmentally-relevant concentrations of microplastics in soil are likely to only rise.

Latest Posts

Characteristics of microplastics in the beach sediments of Marina tourist beach, Chennai, India

The paper provides new insights into marine environments and human activities and suggests plastic waste should be controlled through laws that regulate waste sources and plastic additives in order to solve the problem of plastic accumulation in the oceans.

Microplastic pollution in coastal ecosystem off Mumbai coast, India

The paper strengthens the evidence that microplastics are present in the studied biota, suggesting that they are transferred between trophic levels through the interconnected food chain/web. The presence of micro plastics in fish guts highlights the need for further research on processing interventions for reducing microplastic contamination.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) pollution driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in coastal environment, Southeast Coast of India

PPE (face masks and gloves) were surveyed at six Indian beaches. There were 496 PPE counted with an average density of 1.08 × 10−3 PPE m−2. Previous studies found similar PPE density. Face masks accounted for 98.39% of all PPE recorded, while gloves accounted for only 1.61%. As a result of the increase in vaccination[…]

Effects of Marine Littering and Sustainable Measures to Reduce Marine Pollution in India

The research seeks to depict and reduce marine plastic pollution in India. A GIS map has been created to show plastic input from different river basins. In order to address the challenges of marine litter in India, a guiding model has been developed. According to the predictive model, India produces 536 thousand tons of municipal[…]

Litter and plastic monitoring in the Indian marine environment: A review of current research, policies, waste management, and a roadmap for multidisciplinary action

Plastic research, policies, waste management, socioeconomics, challenges, and opportunities are discussed. Marine plastic studies have focused on a few locations, providing information on distribution and interactions with organisms. In addition to scientific investigation, enforcement, improvisation, and, if necessary, framing new policies, integrated technologies to manage plastic waste are essential.