The Threat of Plastic to the Freshwater Biosphere

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2024 | Viewed by 602

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
National Research Council—Water Research Institute (CNR-IRSA), Corso Tonolli 50, 28922 Verbania Pallanza, Italy
Interests: aquatic ecology; ecotoxicology; plastic pollution; riverine macrolitter; macroinvertebrates; water quality assessment

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Sciences, University “Roma Tre”, Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 00146 Roma, Italy
2. National Biodiversity Future Center (NBFC), University of Palermo, Piazza Marina 61, 90133 Palermo, Italy
Interests: fundamental and applied aquatic ecology; environmental monitors; aquatic resources assessment; ecotoxicology; plas-tics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department for Sustainability, ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Casaccia Research Center, Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy
Interests: aquatic ecology; ecotoxicology; genotoxicity; microplastics; amphipods; biomarkers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastic pollution has emerged as a pressing environmental concern, particularly in freshwater ecosystems, where this issue was long overlooked. However, freshwaters are undoubtedly the main pathway of plastic dispersion in the environment, transporting plastic from the land to the seas and oceans. Besides passing routes, rivers and lakes can act as sinks of plastic litter. Recently, there has been a rising awareness of the impacts that plastic pollution has on freshwaters, changing the perspective of freshwaters being plastic pathways to plastic reservoirs. The impacts of plastics on freshwaters affect all levels of biological organization, from the molecular to ecosystem level. Depending on their size (i.e., macro, meso, micro, nano), plastics have diverse effects, such as entanglement, suffocation, ingestion, trophic transfer and biomagnification, adsorption of other contaminants (e.g., antibiotics, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, etc.), transport of pathogens and alien organisms (i.e., plastisphere), toxicity (e.g., neurotoxicity, genotoxicity, teratogenicity, etc.), and a reduction in ecosystem services. Depending on their shape, polymer, surface/volume ratio, and biofouling, plastics can float on the surface, lay in the water column, or sink on the bottom. The fate of a plastic item determines what type of organism (e.g., pelagic, planktonic, or benthic) will be affected and its bioavailability.

Potential authors are encouraged to contribute research articles, reviews, or perspectives that explore diverse aspects of plastic pollution on freshwater life. This encompasses, but is not limited to:

  • Elucidating the ecotoxicological and ecological consequences of plastics for aquatic organisms (i.e., microorganisms, plants, and animals).
  • Unraveling the mechanisms of plastic colonization and degradation.
  • Practical solutions for mitigating the impact of plastics on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Recognizing research biases and identifying knowledge gaps about plastics’ impacts on freshwater life.

By promoting collaboration among experts and interdisciplinary approaches, this Special Issue aims to catalyze advances in our comprehension of plastics' pervasive influence on freshwater ecosystems.

Dr. Giulia Cesarini
Dr. Massimiliano Scalici
Dr. Valentina Iannilli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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.


  • freshwater ecosystems
  • aquatic biota
  • plastic impacts
  • ecotoxicology
  • plastisphere
  • trophic webs
  • ecosystem services
  • knowledge gaps

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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