Source, occurrence, distribution, fate, and implications of microplastic pollutants in freshwater on environment: A critical review and way forward


The generation of microplastics (MPs) has increased recently and become an emerging issue globally. Due to their long-term durability and capability of traveling between different habitats in air, water, and soil, MPs presence in freshwater ecosystem threatens the environment with respect to its quality, biotic life, and sustainability. Although many previous works have been undertaken on the MPs pollution in the marine system recently, none of the study has covered the scope of MPs pollution in the freshwater. To consolidate scattered knowledge in the literature body into one place, this work identifies the sources, fate, occurrence, transport pathways, and distribution of MPs pollution in the aquatic system with respect to their impacts on biotic life, degradation, and detection techniques. This article also discusses the environmental implications of MPs pollution in freshwater ecosystems. Certain techniques for identifying MPs and their limitations in applications are presented. Through a literature survey of 274 published articles (2000-2022), this study presents an overview of solutions to the MP pollution, while identifying research gaps in the body of knowledge for further work. It is conclusive from this review that the MPs exist in the freshwater due to an improper littering of plastic waste and its degradation into smaller particles. Approximately 15-51 trillion MP particles have accumulated in the oceans with their weight ranging between 93,000 and 236,000 metric ton (Mt), while about 19-23 Mt of plastic waste was released into rivers in 2016, which is projected to increase up to 53 Mt by 2030. A subsequent degradation of MPs in the aquatic environment results in the generation of NPs with size ranging from 1 to 1000 nm. It is expected that this facilitates stakeholders to understand the multi-aspects of MPs pollution in the freshwater and recommends policy actions to implement sustainable solutions to this environmental problem.

Authors: Tonni Agustiono Kurniawan, Ahtisham Haider, Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad, Ayesha Mohyuddin, Hafiz Muhammad Umer Aslam, Sohail Nadeem, Mohsin Javed, Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Hui Hwang Goh, Kit Wayne Chew
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2023 Mar 10;138367. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.138367.