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Focus topics on microplastics in soil: Analytical methods, occurrence, transport, and ecological risks

Authors: Jia Li, Yang Song, Yongbing Cai

Abstract: Microplastics with extremely high abundances are universally detected in marine and terrestrial systems. Microplastic pollution in the aquatic environment, especially in ocean, has become a hot topic and raised global attention. However, microplastics in soils has been largely overlooked. In this paper, the analytical methods, occurrence, transport, and potential ecological risks of microplastics in soil environments have been reviewed. Although several analytical methods have been established, a universal, efficient, faster, and low-cost analytical method is still not available. The absence of a suitable analytical method is one of the biggest obstacles to study microplastics in soils. Current data on abundance and distribution of microplastics in soils are still limited, and results obtained from different studies differ significantly. Once entering into surface soil, microplastics can migrate to deep soil through different processes, e.g. leaching, bioturbation, and farming activities. Presence of microplastics with high abundance in soils can alter fundamental properties of soils. But current conclusions on microplastics on soil organisms are still conflicting. Overall, research on microplastics pollution in soils is still in its infancy and there are gaps in the knowledge of microplastics pollution in soil environments. Many questions such as pollution level, ecological risks, transport behaviors and the control mechanisms are still unclear, which needs further systematical study.

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Published in: Environmental Pollution Volume 257, February 2020, 113570

Please find the full article here.


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