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Effects of microplastics in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems

The IMPASSE project has been presented at the World Water Congress, organized by the Internaciontal Water Association (IWA), being held in Tokio, Japan, from 16 to 21 September.

The main objective of the IMPASSE (Impacts of MicroPlastics in Agrosystems and Stream Environments) project is to assess the risk of environmental contamination with MPs in agroecosystems and nearby aquatic ecosystems, and to provide solutions capable of promoting agricultural sustainability and economic development, protecting the environment and human health. Pollution by MPs on agrosystems is mainly due to the contribution of bio-solids, grey waters and sludge, which are used as fertilizers. Plastic polymers can attach toxic compounds and endocrine-disrupting substances, so it is important to know the persistence and environmental fate of these MPs, as well as their impact on neighbouring terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and on human health.

Andreu Rico and Theresa Schell, from the Ecotoxicology Group of IMDEA Water, attended the Congress.

 Andreu Rico chaired a workshop entitled ‘Effects of microplastics in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems’ that was well attended by practitioners in the field of waste water treatment and research. During that workshop Andreu Rico, together with Rachel Hurley (NIVA) and Theresa Schell introduced the IMPASSE project and presented preliminary results. The presentations yielded interesting discussions about what should be the research priorities for the risk assessment of microplastics and what are the management actions that could be taken into account.

Theresa Schell also gave a platform presentation showing some results of her PhD project regarding the loads and fate of microplastics in the Henares River Watershed.