So, what are the risks of microplastics in soil?

16 February 2023


Source: Li et al. 2023. A discussion of microplastics in soil and risks for ecosystems and food chains. Chemosphere. 313, 137637

On Friday, 10 February, we at HydroTerra hosted our second webinar of 2023, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! We had a record number of registrants join us for what promised to be an incredibly fascinating, yet somewhat confronting webinar. We were joined by Associate Professor Suzie Reichman of CAPIM & Unimelb who has been conducting research into the impacts of microplastics and PFAS in soil.

Whilst the impact that microplastics have on the environment and on human health is vastly unknown, we learned some disturbing facts during this webinar. Just some examples of the content we learned include:

  • 368 million metric tons of virgin plastics are produced annually, with production expected to double by 2040.
  • only 9% of all plastics ever produced have been recycled, and 12% have been incinerated.
  • 79% of all plastics produced have accumulated in landfills or the environment.

We are exposed to these microplastics a lot more than you might think in our everyday lives which makes it all the more terrifying what potential risks come along with the growing levels of microplastics in the environment. When it comes to us humans, microplastics can have impacts on our lungs, immune system, nerve system, and gastrointestinal system. The extent to which microplastics can harm humans is certainly out there for everyone to see.

It is a problem, and we need to take action! We would like to once again thank Suzie for taking the time to prepare her presentation for us and the audience who greatly enjoyed the talk. We had an abundance of questions submitted by the audience prior to the webinar and plenty more questions arise at the conclusion of Suzie’s talk. Thank you to everyone who attended the webinar, stay tuned for the next one on Feb 24!

Below is the link if you would like to rewatch the Suzie Reichman webinar!