Current status of microplastics pollution in the aquatic environment

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Current status of microplastics pollution in the aquatic environment

Microplastics pose a serious threat to small marine living beings, which tend to feed on them, mistaking them for plankton. These minor organisms are in turn inserted into the food chain and ingested by larger living beings and their predators.

The chain can continue until it reaches our tables. Controlling the release of these plastics into the environment therefore means safeguarding marine fauna. Many marine animals such as seagulls or seals have ingested microplastics, affecting health.

Recent studies have shown that pollution by microplastics has reached the food chain affecting not only marine fauna but also foods such as sea salt, beer and honey. Although no specific studies have been conducted, there is also the possibility that the fragments reach our tables through the meat; in fact, poultry and pigs are also fed with flours obtained from small fish that can be contaminated.

Some studies have found that a person can ingest up to 5 grams of it in a week. The study: Current status of microplastics pollution in the aquatic environment, interaction with other pollutants, and effects on aquatic organisms, published on the Environmental science and pollution research international, analyzes: "Microplastics, as emerging pollutants, have received great attention in the past few decades due to its adverse effects on the environment.

Microplastics are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, soil, and water bodies, and mostly reported in aqueous environment. This paper summarizes the abundance and types of microplastics in different aqueous environments and discusses the interactions of microplastics with other contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), antibiotics, and heavy metals.

The toxicity of microplastics to aquatic organisms and microorganisms is addressed. Particularly, the combined toxic effects of microplastics and other pollutants are discussed, demonstrating either synergetic or antagonis tic effects.

Future prospectives should be focused on the characterization of different types and shapes of microplastics, the standardization of microplastic units, exploring the interaction and toxicity of microplastics with other pollutants, and the degradation of microplastics, for a better understanding of the ecological risks of microplastics."