Major environmental challenge as microplastics are harming our drinking water

Tiny pieces of plastic break down further during treatment processes, reducing the performance of treatment plants and impacting on water quality.

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The presence of nano and microplastics in water has progressively turned into a noteworthy environmental challenge. A key test in their detection lives in the moderately inadequate analytical methods accessible anticipating deep comprehension of the fate of nano/microplastics in water.

According to the latest study, the microplastics in the waste streams cause potentially catastrophic consequences for human health and our aquatic systems. Scientists investigated nano and microplastics in water and wastewater treatment processes. The group found that little bits of plastic break down further during the treatment process, reducing the presentation of treatment plants and affecting water quality.

There has been a significant investigation of microplastic contamination, yet their collaboration with water and wastewater treatment procedures had not been completely comprehended until now.

Almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year and as much as 13 million tons of that is discharged into rivers and oceans, adding to around 250 million tons of plastic by 2025. Since plastic materials are not commonly degradable through weathering or aging, this amassing of plastic contamination in the aquatic environment makes a noteworthy concern.

Dr. Lee, Project Lead and Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey said: “The presence of nano and microplastics in water has become a major environmental challenge. Due to their small size, nano and microplastics can easily be ingested by living organisms and travel along water and wastewater treatment processes. In large quantities they impact the performance of water treatment processes by clogging up filtration units and increasing wear and tear on materials used in the design of water treatment units.”

The study sheds light on the current difficulty in distinguishing the presence of nano and microplastics in treatment systems. So as to ensure water quality meets the required safety guidelines and to decrease threats to our ecosystems, new identification procedures are required with the point of constraining the quantity of nano and microplastics in water and wastewater treatment systems.

Journal Reference

  1. Marie Enfrin, Ludovic F. Dumée, Judy Lee. Nano/microplastics in water and wastewater treatment processes – Origin, impact, and potential solutions. Water Research Volume 161, 15 September 2019, Pages 621-638. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2019.06.049
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