A Sustainable Technology for Quantification of Micro- and Nano-plastics in the Environment

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Published: 22Feb2021

Global plastic productions have increased remarkably over the past few decades. Unwanted plastic inputs, specifically, micro- and nano-plastics, into the environment become emerging concerns across the world. However, the quantitative analysis of micro/nano-plastics still remains a major challenge, especially in the complex environmental matrices. In their recent work, the Ariya’s lab developed a wide range of recyclable nanostructures, which provided promising ultra-trace capabilities for both soluble and insoluble micro- and nano-plastic quantification.

The soluble plastics - polyethylene glycols - have been extensively used as antifreeze products. Especially in cold-climate urban sets like Montreal, with a long meteorological winter season. The snow can uptake some of the airborne particles during the winter precipitation events, which can alter the microphysics of snowflakes, the Earth’s albedo, snow-air processes, toxicity, etc. Being said, the snow-borne micro- and nano-plastics are affecting climate change and environmental health research.

Comprehensive studies are required to investigate the global issue caused by unwanted inputs of micro- and nano-plastics. This work opens the door to further accurate quantitative analysis of micro- and nano-plastic particles in various environmental matrices and processes, producing key information in determining the fate of micro- and nano-plastics in the Earth’s ecosystem.

About the paper:

“Advances in Ultra-Trace Analytical Capability for Micro/Nanoplastics and Water-Soluble Polymers in the Environment: Fresh Falling Urban Snow”, by Zi Wang, Nadim K. Saadé, and Parisa A. Ariya was published in Environmental Pollution, 2021, Volume 276, 116698.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116698

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Parisa Ariya
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