A Path to a Reduction in Micro and Nanoplastics Pollution

Jay N. Meegoda, Mala C. Hettiarachchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microplastics (MP) are plastic particles less than 5 mm in size. There are two categories of MP: primary and secondary. Primary or microscopic-sized MP are intentionally produced material. Fragmentation of large plastic debris through physical, chemical, and oxidative processes creates secondary MP, the most abundant type in the environment. Microplastic pollution has become a global environmental problem due to their abundance, poor biodegradability, toxicological properties, and negative impact on aquatic and terrestrial organisms including humans. Plastic debris enters the aquatic environment via direct dumping or uncontrolled land-based sources. While plastic debris slowly degrades into MP, wastewater and stormwater outlets discharge a large amount of MP directly into water bodies. Additionally, stormwater carries MP from sources such as tire wear, artificial turf, fertilizers, and land-applied biosolids. To protect the environment and human health, the entry of MP into the environment must be reduced or eliminated. Source control is one of the best methods available. The existing and growing abundance of MP in the environment requires the use of multiple strategies to combat pollution. These strategies include reducing the usage, public outreach to eliminate littering, reevaluation and use of new wastewater treatment and sludge disposal methods, regulations on macro and MP sources, and a wide implementation of appropriate stormwater management practices such as filtration, bioretention, and wetlands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5555
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • environment and human beings
  • microplastics
  • nanoplastics
  • policy
  • wastewater

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Path to a Reduction in Micro and Nanoplastics Pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this