Microplastics are products of large plastic item erosion or small (< 1 millimeter) manufactured plastic items. When disposed into waste streams microplastics often end up widely dispersed in both freshwater and marine systems worldwide. Most published reports of microplastics in the aquatic systems to date indicate efforts that are unable to properly sample for microplastics. Advances in the science of environmental monitoring of microplastics are necessary. There is a need to standardize sampling procedures, and notably to adopt the use of “clean” techniques to avoid compromising sample integrity, to insure robust, replicable assessments of microplastic pollution. Reliable, standardized methods are of utmost importance for accurately evaluating the amounts of microplastics in aquatic environments and thus enable the assessment and management of these contaminants.
Michael R. Twiss, Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 42, Issue 5, October 2016, Pages 921–925