Essay Recommends Research Into Effects of Microplastics in Soils, Freshwater
In an essay for Science, a researcher argues that current evidence suggests microplastic contamination is widespread on land and in freshwater and calls for additional research into the effects of microplastics on human health and agricultural practices. Science’s sister publication Science Advances also published a study examining organic fertilizer’s role in spreading microplastics in the environment.
According to the essay, researchers have found microplastic contamination in freshwater animals, clams, fish and birds, but research is limited on similar contamination in terrestrial environments. “Soils may act as an important long-term sink for microplastics,” the researcher asserts. “This has been demonstrated via the presence of plastic microfibers and fragments in sewage sludge that is widely applied on vast expanses of agricultural land. Other large-scale sources of microplastics in soils are the weathering and disintegration of protective plastic sheeting (plasticulture) over agricultural fields and the fragmentation of plastic litter and plastic items in landfills.”