Examining the indirect ecological effects of plastic pollution
Plastic and microplastic pollution pose a global environmental and societal concern, and indirect ecological effects are unexplored. Laboratory evidence suggests a binding between metals and altered plastics, whose interaction can be amplified in environmental conditions due to mechanical, UV and biological degradations during plastic ageing. Moreover, plastics can change the budget and cycling of nutrients, micronutrients and toxic metals in different environments. The EU-funded PLANET project will conduct artificial plastic ageing experiments on selected polymers, characterise alterations of plastic surface physicochemical properties, run sorption tests with ions and metals, build a mathematical frame describing this interaction and implications for ions/metals distribution in the environment, and assess model predictions in sediments/water column microcosms to enable inference for ecological effects at different scales.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencessoil sciencesedaphology
- natural scienceschemical sciencespolymer sciences
- natural sciencesphysical sciencesastronomyplanetary sciencesplanets
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencesenvironmental sciencespollution
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesecologyecosystems