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Microplastics – News and Features

Close up of a researcher wearing blue gloves collecting a soil sample.

Digging Deep: Emerging Contaminants in Soil

Soil could be our planet's unsung hero, quietly working behind the scenes to keep everything in balance. This article will discuss some of the worrying emerging contaminants detected in soil and how scientists are rising to the analytical challenge.
Mussels clustered together.

Mussels Downstream of Wastewater Facility Contain Radium

Mussels downstream of a wastewater facility that processed fracking wastewater from the oil and gas industry have been found to contain radium.
Plastic waste on a beach.

Inexpensive Microplastic Monitoring Through Porous Materials and Machine Learning

Optical analysis and machine learning techniques can now readily detect microplastics in marine and freshwater environments using inexpensive porous metal substrates.
A teabag.

Some “Biodegradable” Teabags Don’t Easily Deteriorate in the Environment After All, Study Finds

Some teabags manufactured using plastic alternatives do not degrade in soil and have the potential to harm terrestrial species, a new study has shown.
Fish swimming among plastic pollution.

Reducing Plastic Pollution Key to Stabilizing Ocean Microplastics Levels

The study, a collaboration between researchers at Imperial College London and GNS Science, suggests that reducing plastic pollution by 5% per year would stabilize the level of microplastics – plastics less than 5 mm in length – in the surface oceans.
Plastic pollution in the ocean.

Plastic Pollution Must Be Reduced by 5% Each Year To Meet UN Targets

Research suggests that plastic pollution must be reduced by at least 5% every year to make progress towards UN targets by the end of the century.
A brown paper bag on a marbled background.

New Sustainable Coating for Paper Packaging Could Help Reduce Microplastic Pollution

What if there was a biodegradable packaging material with high performance without leaving microplastics? A new coating for paper packaging could be the answer.
Pint glasses filled with beer arranged on a table.

Turning Waste Beer Yeast Into Water Filters

Engineered yeast-containing hydrogel capsules could be used to remove lead from contaminated water rapidly and inexpensively. The work could be especially useful in low-income areas with high lead contamination.
A researcher collects water from a pond using a conical flask.

Water Analysis: A Pollution Solution?

Water represents a means to hydrate, wash, cook, clean and even to dispose of waste, but these activities are not without consequences. This article will discuss current areas of concern in water quality analysis and highlight some of the key techniques in detection and remediation efforts.
Plastic in the ocean.

Swarms of Miniature Robots Clean Up Microplastics and Microbes, Simultaneously

Microscale robots that mimic natural swarms, like schools of fish, have been designed to capture microplastics and bacteria from water.