The widespread presence of plastics and microplastics in the environment and the potential related risks and impacts have become a major ecological issue. From a scientific point of view, microplastics have been widely studied in the marine environment, but many questions about their presence in the terrestrial environment remain unanswered. The Missouri project, conducted over a year and funded by the SOILvER* platform, is based on a partnership between Ineris, Issep (Belgium) and Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam (Netherlands). This project, coordinated by the Institute, aims to review ongoing scientific and technical questions, obstacles and issues, to better characterize the presence and fate of microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems (soil and groundwater).
Missouri’s actions: an overview of current knowledge and an interlaboratory study
The work of the Missouri project will provide elements to identify the priority scientific questions to be investigated for future projects on microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems. The project also aims to contribute to the development of first recommendations for the management of soil quality, on a more operational basis.
Ineris is in charge of producing a scientific literature review on microplastics in soil and groundwater, and will seek to gauge and collect all the relevant stakeholders’ expectations.
The overview of current knowledge on microplastics (MP) will cover existing knowledge on:
- the nature of microplastics and their emission sources;
- transfer phenomena in the environment, and specific exposure pathways for humans and ecosystems;
- impacts on human health and terrestrial ecosystems:
The Missouri project’s work will be part of a European interlaboratory study on the separation and analysis of microplastics, organized by QUASIMEME (member of WEPAL) in October 2020. The aim of this study is to respond to the need for quality controls at microplastics analysis laboratories. Missouri contributes with the “spiking” of soil samples with microplastics performed by ISSEP, and with contribution to the analysis and interpretation of results carried out by the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. The interlaboratory study will include 5 samples of soil and other “environmental matrices” (sediments, aquatic organisms, etc.). Participation in this study will enable the assessment and comparison of analytical protocols for soils, with a view to coordinating laboratory methods and practices by identifying their advantages and limitations.
The MISSOURI project is funded by the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe) for France, the Wallonia Public Service (SPW) for Belgium, and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands.
* SoilVer : Soil and Land Research Funding Platform for Europe >> www.soilver.eu