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Researchers Find How Tiny Plastics Slip Through The Environment by Washington State University

Washington State University researchers have shown the fundamental mechanisms that allow tiny pieces of plastic bags and foam packaging at the nanoscale to move through the environment. The researchers found that a silica surface such as sand has little effect on slowing down the movement of the plastics, but that natural organic matter resulting from decomposition of plant and animal remains can either temporarily or permanently trap the nanoscale plastic particles, depending on the type of plastics. The work, published in the journal Water Research, could help researchers develop better ways to filter out and clean up pervasive plastics from the environment. The researchers include Indranil Chowdhury, assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, along with Mehnaz Shams and Iftaykhairul Alam, recent graduates of the civil engineering program. “We’re looking at developing a filter that can be more efficient at removing these plastics,” Chowdhury said. “People have seen these plastics escaping into our drinking water, and our current drinking water system is not adequate enough to remove these micro and nanoscale plastics. This work is the first fundamental way to look at those mechanisms.”
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-tiny-plastics-environment.html

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