Publications

Distribution of microplastics in soil and freshwater environments: Global analysis and framework for transport modeling
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Microplastics are continuously released into the terrestrial environment from sources where they are used and produced. These microplastics accumulate in soils, sediments, and freshwater bodies, and some are conveyed via wind and water to the oceans. The concentration gradient between terrestrial inland and coastal regions, the factors that influence the concentration, and the fundamental transport processes that could dynamically affect the distribution of microplastics are unclear. We analyzed microplastic concentration reported in 196 studies from 49 countries or territories from all continents and found that microplastic concentrations in soils or sediments and surface water could vary by up to eight orders of magnitude. Mean microplastic concentrations in inland locations such as glacier (191 n L−1) and urban stormwater (55 n L−1) were up to two orders of magnitude greater than the concentrations in rivers (0.63 n L−1) that convey microplastics from inland locations to water bodies in terrestrial boundary such as estuaries (0.15 n L−1). However, only 20% of studies reported microplastics below 20 μm, indicating the concentration in these systems can change with the improvement of microplastic detection technology. Analysis of data from laboratory studies reveals that biodegradation can also reduce the concentration and size of deposited microplastics in the terrestrial environment. Fiber percentage was higher in the sediments in the coastal areas than the sediments in inland water bodies, indicating fibers are preferentially transported to the terrestrial boundary. Finally, we provide theoretical frameworks to predict microplastics transport and identify potential hotspots where microplastics may accumulate.

Latest Posts

1
Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022

Guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility for Plastic Packaging. These guidelines provides framework for implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility. The Guidelines provide the roles and responsibilities of Producers, Importers, Brand Owners, Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committees, recyclers and waste processors for effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility. Please note[…]

2
POLICY BRIEF (Input Paper): Prevention of Marine Litter in India

The Policy Brief gives an overview of the current waste management related policy ecosystem and provides preliminary recommendations based on desk research, specifically on marine litter in India.  

3
Draft Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2022

The Government of India announced the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which will prohibit the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of single use plastics (including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene) by 2022. To stop litering and promote reuse, the thickness of plastic carry bags have been increased. Please note that “English text follows[…]

4
Draft resolution- End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument

Environment ministers around the globe agreed to create an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to create an international agreement to end plastic pollution at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), held in Nairobi, Kenya, between February 28 and March 2, 2022.    

5
Baseline assessment of microplastic concentrations in marine and freshwater environments of a developing Southeast Asian country, Viet Nam

Developing country facilities, financial and human resources prevent complete application of sampling, analysis, and observation protocols used in developed countries neccitating adaptations. Researchers in Vietnam developed and standardized a methodology for microplastic monitoring in sediments and surface waters of 21 environments (rivers, lakes, bays, beaches) of eight cities or provinces. The concentrations of microplastics in[…]