IMPASSE – Impacts of MicroPlastics on AgrosystemS and Stream Environments

While it is widely known that microplastics (MPs) in the ocean are a serious environmental problem, the threat posed by MPs in agricultural lands is almost entirely unknown. A large fraction of MPs produced in industrialized countries is intercepted by sewers. In treatment plants most of MPs are retained in the sludge. A sizeable fraction of this sewage sludge is spread in many countries on agricultural lands. We estimate the MP input to agricultural lands in Europe to be between 50000 and 175000 tonnes/year. This is especially alarming given that plastic polymers can contain toxic compounds and endocrine disrupting substances. Effectively, sewage sludge application may be causing persistent, pernicious and almost totally ignored contamination of agricultural land. In IMPASSE, we propose to develop and communicate new understanding of MP behavior in agrosystems which is urgently needed to avoid the potential of serious and long lasting environmental contamination. The highly interdisciplinary project includes risk communication, stakeholder engagement, ecotoxicology, catchment modelling, decision support tools, monitoring and experimental work needed to understand and then minimize threats associated with MPs in agrosystems.

IMPASSE will contribute substantially to an avoidance of current and future pollution in soils and waters in agricultural landscapes and develop guidance on how drainage management may influence MP mobility.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Maintainer Luca Nizzetto
Last Updated March 20, 2019, 14:54 (UTC)
Created November 21, 2018, 10:00 (UTC)
Project Coordinator Luca Nizzetto
Partner 1 Sindre Langaas - Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) - NORWAY
Partner 2 Martyn Futter - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences - Sweden
Partner 3 - Canada
Partner 4 Jill Crossman - Windsor University
Partner 5 Vrije University Amsterdam - THE NETHERLANDS
Partner 6 Marco Vighi - IMDEA Water - Spain