Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 27784

Special Issue Editors

Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: plastic pollution; micro(nano)plastics; ecotoxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastics are popular synthetic materials due to their advantageous properties, such as low density and high durability, which have led to their increased use in multiple applications. Either in larger or smaller sizes, known as microplastics and nanoplastics, plastics are continuously released to the environment, where they accumulate due to their resistance to degradation. For this reason, plastics now contaminate virtually every ecosystem on the planet, being considered a marker for the Anthropocene. The accumulation of plastics in the environment can have negative effects on organisms and ecosystems directly through toxicity, or indirectly through habitat changes. Most of this contamination originates from an unsustainable use and management of plastics, from production to consumption and disposal, which needs to be restructured in the context of a circular economy.

This Special Issue invites novel contributions in the form of critical reviews and research papers to address all aspects of plastics, such as (i) strategies or technologies to improve the production, use, and waste management of plastics; (ii) analytical methods for the assessment of micro/nanoplastics; (iii) concentrations and characteristics of micro/nanoplastics in the environment; (iv) ecotoxicological or abiotic effects of micro/nanoplastics; and (v) the role of micro/nanoplastics as vectors of contaminants and pathogens. This Special Issue also welcomes contributions regarding changes in plastics policies, consumption, incorrect disposal, and waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Teresa A. P. Rocha-Santos
Dr. Ana Luísa Patrício da Silva
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

  • plastics
  • plastic pollution
  • microplastics
  • nanoplastics
  • waste management
  • mitigation strategies
  • ecotoxicology
  • human health

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

10 pages, 1055 KiB  
Communication
Assessment of Prevalence and Heterogeneity of Meso- and Microplastic Pollution in Icelandic Waters
Environments 2022, 9(12), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9120150 - 30 Nov 2022
Viewed by 3057
Abstract
Surface water samples were collected using a low-tech aquatic debris instrument (LADI) at six nearshore locations on the north and northwestern coasts of Iceland to investigate the prevalence of mesoplastic (5–10 mm) and microplastic (0.3–5 mm) in the region. This sampling strategy involved [...] Read more.
Surface water samples were collected using a low-tech aquatic debris instrument (LADI) at six nearshore locations on the north and northwestern coasts of Iceland to investigate the prevalence of mesoplastic (5–10 mm) and microplastic (0.3–5 mm) in the region. This sampling strategy involved sampling each transect three times for a total of 18 samples collected in order to assess uncertainties related to heterogeneous distribution of plastic in surface waters. Samples in all six nearshore locations contained meso- and/or microplastic, though concentrations were highly variable. Visual, physical, and FTIR analyses were performed on 71 suspected plastic particles collected, confirming and identifying 40 of those particles as one of six types of plastic: polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyester, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Lines originating from fishing gear were the most prevalent types of plastic detected across the samples. This study is among the first to quantify and identify microplastic particles collected in Icelandic nearshore surface waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

16 pages, 3654 KiB  
Article
Wettability after Artificial and Natural Weathering of Polyethylene Terephthalate
Environments 2022, 9(11), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9110134 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3190
Abstract
The weathering of plastics is always accompanied by a change in surface properties, especially wettability in the case of water. For plastics weathering in an aquatic environment, wettability plays an important role in transport, sedimentation, and dispersion in the water body. To quantify [...] Read more.
The weathering of plastics is always accompanied by a change in surface properties, especially wettability in the case of water. For plastics weathering in an aquatic environment, wettability plays an important role in transport, sedimentation, and dispersion in the water body. To quantify wettability, contact angle measurement is a fast and convenient method that requires little experimental effort. This technique was used with the aim of systematically discussing how measured values of contact angles can contribute to the assessment of the weathering state. Using polyethylene terephthalate (PET), wetting was analyzed on samples from artificial weathering and from controlled, natural weathering. Surface analytical methods were used (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), ultraviolet and visible light spectroscopy (UV/VIS)) to analyze the parameters affecting the contact angle: (i) chemical bond breaking and formation, (ii) eco-corona formation and biofilm growth, and (iii) change in surface structure and roughness. It was found that wettability with water increased during weathering in all cases. The reasons for this varied and depended on the method of weathering. The improved wettability during artificial weathering was due to changes in the polymer surface chemistry. In natural weathering, however, the formation of eco-corona and biofilm was responsible for the changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

10 pages, 17913 KiB  
Communication
Journey into the Local Market in Search of “Glitter” Microparticles: Mini Product Investigation and Relative Chemical-Physical Characterization
Environments 2022, 9(9), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9090119 - 08 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3282
Abstract
There is one type of primary microplastic, glitter, which has not received the same attention as microbeads. The general thought associates the use of glitter with extraordinary and rare events, in reality, its presence in everyday life is much more ubiquitous than one [...] Read more.
There is one type of primary microplastic, glitter, which has not received the same attention as microbeads. The general thought associates the use of glitter with extraordinary and rare events, in reality, its presence in everyday life is much more ubiquitous than one might think. The main objective of this preliminary study was to create a mini product survey with the aim of analyzing the distribution and composition of glitter in the local market of the city of Trieste (Italy), thus creating a starting point for larger future studies. The analysis of a real context served as a snapshot for the description of the phenomenon, from which useful information was obtained: glitter is everywhere, cheap, disperses easily in the environment, is made of different materials, often has sharp-edged shapes, and mainly affects sensitive audiences, such as children. It is time to put glitter in the spotlight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

12 pages, 1676 KiB  
Article
CH4 and CO2 Emissions from the Decomposition of Microplastics in the Bottom Sediment—Preliminary Studies
Environments 2022, 9(7), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9070091 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4793
Abstract
In recent years, a significant new threat to the environment has emerged, namely contamination with microplastics and their degradation products. The decomposition products of microplastics include, among others, greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. The article analyzes the emission of carbon [...] Read more.
In recent years, a significant new threat to the environment has emerged, namely contamination with microplastics and their degradation products. The decomposition products of microplastics include, among others, greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. The article analyzes the emission of carbon dioxide and methane during the decomposition of various types of plastics in the form of microplastics in the bottom sediments in the presence of water. The research covers plastic materials made of polyvinyl chloride with a high and low content of plasticizers, polypropylene, and rubber. All analyzed microplastics generated the tested greenhouse gases. However, the quantity of gases generated depended on the type of polymer used. The highest concentration of methane, at 25,253 ppm after 180 days of incubation, was characterized by high plasticizer polyvinyl chloride, i.e., di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. In the case of carbon dioxide emissions, the values were comparable. The maximum value was obtained at 65,662 ppm for polypropylene microplastics. The influence of particle size on the amount of the emissions of these gases was also investigated. During the decomposition of microplastics in the bottom sediments in the presence of water, it was observed that the smaller the microplastic particles are, the greater the production of methane and carbon dioxide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

18 pages, 2033 KiB  
Review
The Plastic Within: Microplastics Invading Human Organs and Bodily Fluids Systems
Environments 2023, 10(11), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10110194 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1902
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs), small plastic particles resulting from the degradation of larger plastic items and from primary sources such as textiles, engineered plastic pellets, etc., have become a ubiquitous environmental pollutant. As their prevalence in the natural environment grows, concerns about their potential impacts [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs), small plastic particles resulting from the degradation of larger plastic items and from primary sources such as textiles, engineered plastic pellets, etc., have become a ubiquitous environmental pollutant. As their prevalence in the natural environment grows, concerns about their potential impacts on human health have escalated. This review discusses current research findings on the presence of MPs in organs such as the liver, blood, heart, placenta, breast milk, sputum, semen, testis, and urine, while also exploring plausible mechanisms of translocation. Furthermore, the review emphasizes the importance of understanding the potential toxicological effects of MPs on various physiological processes within these organs and their broader implications for human health. This review also examines the pathways through which MPs can enter and accumulate in human organs and bodily fluids, shedding light on the intricate routes of exposure and potential health implications. It is worth noting that the invasive medical procedures may permit direct access of MPs to the bloodstream and tissues, serving as a potential contamination source. However, it is evident that a comprehensive understanding of MPs’ invasion into human organs is vital for effective mitigation strategies and the preservation of both human health and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

27 pages, 1666 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Micro- and Nanoplastics on Aquatic Organisms: Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress and Implications for Human Health—A Review
Environments 2023, 10(9), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10090161 - 16 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1901
Abstract
In recent years, interest in the impact of environmental pollutants on the ecosystem has increased significantly, with particular attention being paid to the relationship between climate change and the aquatic world. This is because increasing pollution is causing fundamental changes to the welfare [...] Read more.
In recent years, interest in the impact of environmental pollutants on the ecosystem has increased significantly, with particular attention being paid to the relationship between climate change and the aquatic world. This is because increasing pollution is causing fundamental changes to the welfare of animals and the marine ecosystem. A primary focus is on the impact of microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs), as evidenced by our bibliometric network analysis (BNA). However, while research is focused on the accumulation of these pollutants in aquatic organisms, their effects on redox homeostasis are still seldom discussed despite the role played by reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial well-being in maintaining an optimal state of health. However, some scientific evidence suggests that the accumulation of MPs and NPs in organisms at the base of the trophic chain can cause a transfer of these substances towards more complex organisms, reaching humans through the consumption of aquatic fauna as food. Therefore, in this review, we have tried to discuss the effects of these substances on oxidative stress in aquatic organisms, even if studies in this regard are still scarce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

20 pages, 1002 KiB  
Review
Fate and Impacts of Microplastics in the Environment: Hydrosphere, Pedosphere, and Atmosphere
Environments 2023, 10(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10050070 - 24 Apr 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 8335
Abstract
Plastic litter is on the rise where plastic waste ends up in undesignated areas such as the coastal shorelines, where the plastic is exposed to environmental conditions. As a result, the degradation and decomposition of plastics occur, leading to the formation of smaller [...] Read more.
Plastic litter is on the rise where plastic waste ends up in undesignated areas such as the coastal shorelines, where the plastic is exposed to environmental conditions. As a result, the degradation and decomposition of plastics occur, leading to the formation of smaller fragments of plastics, termed microplastics. Microplastics have recently been considered as an emerging class of contaminants due to their ecotoxicological impact on the aquatic environment as well as soil matrix. Microplastics are of a size less than 5 mm and are produced from either a primary source (such as plastic pellets, and beads in makeup products) or a secondary source (such as the wear and tear of normal-use plastics and washing of clothes and textiles). Microplastic pollution is spread across the hydrosphere, pedosphere, and atmosphere, and these environmental zones are being studied for microplastic accumulation individually. However, there exists a source–sink dynamic between these environmental compartments. This study reviews the available literature on microplastic research and discusses the current state of research on the fate and transport of microplastic in the hydrosphere, pedosphere, and atmosphere, explores the ecotoxicological impact of microplastics on aquatic and soil communities, and provides prospective future research directions and plastic waste management strategies to control microplastic pollution. While the fate of microplastics in the hydrosphere is well-documented and researched, studies on understanding the transport mechanism of microplastics in the pedosphere and atmosphere remain poorly understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions Volume II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop