IKHAPP presents a new, user-friendly demo tool for assessing microplastics in landscapes

A user-friendly demonstration version of the new INCA-Microplastics model is now available in the IKHAPP toolbox, allowing users to interactively explore how measures to curb microplastic sources on land can reduce releases to rivers and the oceans.

IKHAPP is proud to announce a new addition to its toolbox: A new interactive interface to explore core functionalities of the INCA-Microplastic model available at this link. 

The first of its kind 

INCA-Microplastics (Integrated Catchment model of Microplastics Transport) is a computer model designed to dynamically assess microplastics fate and transport in the landscape. It simulates microplastic concentrations and fluxes across soils, stream water and river sediments at the scale of a river catchment. Very few models currently exists that describe the basic physical mechanisms controlling microplastic behavior and transport in terrestrial environments; INCA-Microplastics was the first of this kind and it has recently been upgraded with substantial new features.  

Simulations run by INCA-Microplastics accounts for the effects of particle characteristics (size, shape and density), weather conditions and river flow variability on the retention of microplastic in soils, their runoff to river water, the transport by the stream and their total discharge at the river mouth. Detailed information on the model development history, and recent calibration and validation studies are provided in scientific publications authored by scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (Norway), Oxford University (UK), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden) and IMDEA-Water (Spain).

User-friendly demonstration version  

The interface demo tool presented by IKHAPP has been developed by scientists at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) to enable an easy and interactive access by IKHAPP users. Through this interface users can explore how previsions of microplastic fate and transport in generic catchments can be affected by socioeconomic and climatic variables.  

In this user-friendly version, INCA-Microplastics is set to describe the environmental fate of three types of microplastics: fibers, high density fragments and low density fragments. Users can easily vary the strength of microplastic sources (for example by setting values for the production of wastewater, the rate of wastewater treatment, or the rate of plastic waste production and waste mismanagement); select one of three generic geographic areas (tropical, temperate and boreal catchments); run the model using default historical weather time series; or use time series downscaled from climate change forecasts.  

Can help evaluate pollution prevention measures  

In its professional version, INCA-Microplastics can be set to represent any specific catchment with a desired level of detail. It enables running simulations along a desired time span using real meteorological data and any available information on microplastic sources (for example obtained from measurements and surveys). Several additional features are available compared to the one accessible through the demo interface; these include: the possibility of arbitrarily defining multiple classes of microplastics characterized by ranges of size and density; setting rates for microplastics degradation and aggregation; accounting for the effect of biofilm formation on plastics during ageing in the environment, which can affect their transport.   

When operated by an expert, INCA-Microplastic is an advanced, quality-proofed tool with a demonstrated capacity of providing realistic predictions of microplastic transport and distribution in landscapes. This can help scientists, environmental managers and governance to assess ecosystem exposure to microplastic under variable conditions and evaluate the impacts of pollution control measures in reducing such an exposure. If you are interested in a specific and more advanced use of the model, please contact info@ikhapp.org