Water Special Interest Group
A community for process professionals
15 September 2017

Microplastics in water workshop

microplastics in water

Pollution of the aquatic environment by plastic waste, and the environmental and ecological consequences, is an extremely hot topic at the moment, both from a research focus and public concern. Microplastics in particular are demanding of serious attention, based on evidence that they are ingested by aquatic organisms. While focus has initially been on marine pollution by plastics, increasing attention is now also being given to pollution of freshwaters, which makes this an issue of wider concern.

There are moves by manufacturers to remove microplastics from personal care products, but the more significant quantities result from abrasion of larger pieces of polymer. This includes microfibres generated during the domestic laundering of manmade (notably acrylic) fabrics. There is also concern that microplastics are capable of concentrating persistent organic pollutants, thereby enhancing their toxicity to aquatic species, with possible implications for human health (although there is a dearth of published research in this area). The workshop will bring together experts from marine and freshwater backgrounds to share the latest information and review our current understanding of the risks and knowledge gaps. There will be discussion on how best to address plastic pollution of the aquatic environment and respond to the identified evidence gaps and policy needs.

Objectives

The event will:

Review the sources, distribution and impact of microplastics on marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Consider wider environmental risks and socioeconomic impacts associated with plastic pollution.

Present the current regulatory picture in U.K. and EU and identify evidence needs.

Highlight research progress and current activities/plans.

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