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Microplastics – News and Features

A hand holding a cleaning sponge.

“Magic” Sponges Shed Microplastics When Scrubbed

According to research, melamine sponges shed microplastic fibers when worn down and could release over a trillion of these pollutants every month.
Tiny fragments of plastic on a person's hand.

Microplastics Detected in Human Penis for the First Time

Tiny fragments of plastic waste have been detected in human penile tissue for the first time, raising new questions about how environmental pollutants may affect sexual and reproductive health.
Swim fishing among microplastics.

Researchers Invent 100% Biodegradable “Barley Plastic”

A biofriendly new material made from barley starch blended with fibre from sugarbeet waste sees the light of day at the University of Copenhagen – a strong material that turns into compost should it end up in nature.
Fish swimming among plastic waste.

New Spectroscopy Method Simplifies Measurement of Microplastics in Soil

Researchers have developed a novel yet simple method to measure N/MP concentration in different soil types using spectroscopy at two wavelengths.
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.