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Wastewater treatment plants – a surprising source of microplastic pollution

A lot of attention has been drawn recently to microplastics in freshwater and marine environments, and the threat they pose to ecosystems and people’s health.  The source of microplastics is generally thought to be well known: most plastic items are not recycled or incinerated when they are discarded. Plastic waste therefore ends up in landfill or in our rivers and oceans where it gradually breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and particles. Microplastics are defined as pieces of plastic 5mm in diameter or less.  A new study, however, concludes that treated sewage effluents are also key sources of microplastics – the implication being that wastewater treatment plants are not effective at filtering them out.  Read more...



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