Tackling the many knowledge gaps concerning microplastic in agricultural soil
Microplastic pollution in water systems was much researched in the past years, while microplastic pollution in soil, its concentration, distribution and potential risk only recently has gained increased attention. Sampling, sample extraction and quantitative measurements are currently in the progress to be optimized and standardized. Effects of microplastic on soil and plants, as well as microplastic interaction with soil microbial community and microbial degradation processes of microplastic are yet to be revealed.
On the other side, biobased materials are developed as alternatives to conventional plastic and are promoted to be safe and fully biodegradable. There is connection missing between the two different scientific areas, the polymer chemistry and materials research on the one side and soil analysis and ecology on the other side.
NETmicroplastic is expected to combine this yet fragmented research and innovation areas, and bring together yet insufficiently connected players in policy, education, administration and R&I to support innovative technological solutions and foster policy making to oppose plastic pollution in soil and terrestrial environments. This will undoubtedly lead to a deeper understanding of microplastic in agricultural soil, the generation of science- and evidence-based impact data and the formulation of novel soil management practices to protect and improve soils for a more sustainable agriculture.
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