Microplastics Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems: Challenges and Perspectives

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 May 2024 | Viewed by 2235

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Shaw Institute, Blue Hill Research Center, 55 Main Street, Blue Hill, ME 04614, USA
Interests: microplastics; science outreach; plastic pollution

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Guest Editor
Norwegian Research Center (NORCE), Nygårdsporten 112, NO-5008 Bergen, Norway
Interests: microplastics; nanoplastics; vector-effects; ecotoxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Flemish Marine Institute (VLIZ), Ostend, Belgium
Interests: microplastics; nanoplastics; ecotoxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Alta Southwest, Tempe, AZ, USA
Interests: wastewater based epidemiology; microplastics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastic pollution has increased exponentially since the 1950s, but particularly in recent years due to massive plastic production combined with poor waste management. While the threats of larger plastics, termed “macroplastics”, have been well documented, lesser understood are the smaller particles, called “microplastics” (1mm–5mm) and nanoplastics (< 1000 nm). Micro(nano)plastics (MNPs) have been found to be ubiquitous pollutants, especially in relation to dense human populations, but are also able to make their way to more isolated locations, from the top of the planet’s mountains to the deepest parts of the sea.

Microplastics have also been broadly reported in common food sources such as salt, drinking water and shellfish, which together with airborne particle exposure, have led to concerns about their impact on human health. Scientists have documented a range of potential hazards posed by these pollutants, but despite the boom of the MNP research field, it still contains significant gaps which can be improved upon. This is due, in part, to fluctuating factors, such as a wide variety of analytical techniques for MP extraction and subsequent identification, a lack of consistent analysis representing most ecosystem types (i.e., MNP research in freshwater pales in comparison to marine research), and a wide variety of plastic and other polymeric particle pollution, such as tire particles, paint fragments and plastic blends. There persists a lack of understanding regarding the effects of MNPs at different levels of the biological hierarchy (individual, population, and community) and at crossing trophic levels. As plastic pollution is recognized as part of a wider problem of human-driven impacts, there are challenges in linking MNPs to climate change and in understanding how these factors interact.

This Special Issue welcomes studies that:

  • Seek to highlight novel challenges to MNP pollution research;
  • Research the effects of plastic particles in real-world scenarios;
  • Reveal insights that speak to improvements to the field of MNP research;
  • Discuss emerging areas of concern relating to MNP pollution;
  • Provide insights from observational studies on the vulnerability of populations of marine organisms to hot spots of plastic pollution;
  • Perform meta-analyses on the current knowledge of multiple stressors’ effects in marine organisms;
  • Highlight what the future of the MNP research field should look like.

There are a variety of reasons why the field of MNP research contains significant gaps; therefore, this Special Issue seeks to identify and highlight those challenges, while offering insight as to how to overcome them.

Dr. Charles Rolsky
Dr. Farhan R. Khan
Dr. Ana I. Catarino
Dr. Varun Kelkar
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • microplastics
  • plastic pollution
  • freshwater microplastics
  • marine microplastics
  • plastic debris
  • microplastic pollution

Published Papers (1 paper)

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15 pages, 1391 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Environmental Impact of E-Waste Microplastics: A Systematic Review and Analysis Based on the Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) Framework
by Joana C. Prata
Environments 2024, 11(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11020030 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1767
Abstract
Microplastics resulting from the fragmentation of plastics in electronic waste (e-waste) are an emerging but understudied environmental concern. This systematic review employs a Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework to investigate the sources, prevalence, and environmental effects of e-waste microplastics, identifying knowledge gaps. The available literature [...] Read more.
Microplastics resulting from the fragmentation of plastics in electronic waste (e-waste) are an emerging but understudied environmental concern. This systematic review employs a Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework to investigate the sources, prevalence, and environmental effects of e-waste microplastics, identifying knowledge gaps. The available literature on e-waste microplastics was retrieved from Scopus and Web of Science (n = 24), and trends in electrical and electronic equipment were retrieved from European Union databases. The growing incorporation of electronics into daily life results in a global annual growth rate of 3–4% for e-waste, of which only 17.4% is collected for recycling. E-waste microplastics are frequently found in soils near disposal or disassembly facilities, potentially leaching hazardous metals (e.g., Pb) or organic compounds (e.g., flame retardants). These microplastics contaminate the food chain and can have adverse effects on the soil and gut microbiome, organisms, and human health, either independently or associated with other chemicals. Responses include the implementation of regulations, improvement of waste management systems, and mitigation measures. Despite these concerns, the literature on the topic remains limited, emphasizing the need for additional research on the identification of e-waste microplastics and their toxicity. Full article
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