Microplastic pollution now endemic in soils, plants, and animals

Microplastics pose a serious threat for our Planet

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Microplastic pollution now endemic in soils, plants, and animals

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

Microplastic pollution in soils, plants, and animals: A review of distributions, effects and potential mechanisms, published in The Science of the total environment, told: "Increasing production of synthetic plastics and poor management of plastic wastes have dramatically increased the amount of plastics in the environment.

In 2014, at the first United Nations Environment Assembly, marine plastic waste pollution was listed as one of the 10 most pressing environmental issues. In addition, there is much plastic waste in terrestrial ecosystems due to substantial residues from agricultural mulching and packing.As a recently recognized pollutant, microplastics (MPs) have attracted significant attention from the public and various governments.Concentrations of MPs in the environment vary among locations, from <100 to >1 × 106 particles per cubic meter.

Many studies have addressed the impacts and potential mechanisms of MPs on the environment and organisms.Humans and other organisms can ingest or carry MPs in a variety of passive ways and these MPs can have a range of negative effects on metabolism, function, and health.

Additionally, given their large surfa ce area, MPs can sorb various pollutants, including heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants, with serious implications for animals and human wellbeing. However, due to their complexity and a lack of accurate determination methods, the systematic impacts of MP pollution on whole food webs are not clearly established.

Therefore, this review summarizes current research advances in MP pollution, particularly the impact of MPs on soils, plants, and animals, and proposes potential future research prospects to better characterize MPs."