Scope, Fate, Risks and Impacts of Microplastic Pollution in Irish Freshwater Systems

The worldwide production of plastics has increased considerably in the last 30 years (Plastics Europe, 2012). Microplastics are small (< 5 mm) fragments of plastic, which are of particular concern because of their bioavailability and their potential to accumulate organic contaminants in increasing quantities with decreasing size. When they enter aquatic systems, microplastics can be ingested by a range of organisms and accumulate through the food web, causing harm to humans and the environment. Plastic litter has become a priority for the G7 leaders who have acknowledged it as posing a “global challenge, directly affecting marine and coastal life and ecosystems and potentially human health” (G7 summit, 2015) and have passed an action plan on marine litter that includes a commitment to conduct further research. (…)

Anne Marie Mahon, Rick Officer, Róisín Nash and Ian O’Connor, EPA RESEARCH PROGRAMME 2014–2020, Published by the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland, June 2017

The report

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