Project title: Analysis of the presence of microplastics in water and the adsorption of various pollutants on their surface
Project leader: Aleksandra Bogdanowicz, M. Eng.
Lead entity implementing the project at the WUT: Faculty of Building Installations, Hydro and Environmental Engineering of the Warsaw University of Technology
Call, programme or project name: YOUNG PW, IDUB
Microplastics are plastic fragments with dimensions in the range of 1 μm-5 mm. Measurements carried out so far have shown their presence both in the environment (water, soil, air) and in products intended for consumption. What’s more, microplastics can adsorb contaminants (including heavy metals) on their surface from the surrounding environment, and thus act as carriers for various types of harmful substances. This means that once they enter the human body (as a result of breathing polluted air or consuming contaminated products), they can pose a serious health risk. Although in recent years there has been a growing interest in the topic of microplastic pollution, especially in the scientific community, there are still many issues that require adequate research to determine the scale of this problem. These include, among others: the occurrence and behavior (including sorption of harmful substances) of the considered micropollutants in the freshwater environment, as well as the effectiveness of their elimination from water during its treatment in existing systems. Taking the above into account, this project aims to: (1) identify microplastics in water bodies (which are sources of water supply) and at different points in the water supply system, as well as (2) assess the potential for adsorption of selected pollutants (such as heavy metals and organic dyes) by microplastics, both in laboratory and real conditions.