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Publication : The Conversation

par Zouhair Ait Benhamou - publié le

Gazprom’s decision to turn off the taps of Nord Stream 1 this month has rocked Europe’s industrial and manufacturing sector, with fertiliser producers first in line. This is because the production of synthetically derived fertilisers, which are manufactured from minerals, gasses from the air and inorganic waste materials, requires a huge amount of energy. Absent any measures, microplastic pollution will continue to accumulate in our ecosystems and possibly even bloodstreams.

Science on microplastics is still very much in its infancy. Research that has been carried out has suggested they play havoc with the soils’ structure, release contaminants (e.g., plasticisers, flame retardants, light and heat stabilisers) and harm the soil biosphere. It is even believed microplastics can enter crops and thus the food chain destined for food and human consumption. To this date, they have been found in mussels and fish, birds, marine and terrestrial mammals and yes, human beings. Experiments conducted in laboratories (in vitro) have confirmed some of these hunches. In a 2019 paper, for example, scientists sprinkled microplastics on soil containing ryegrass and earthworms, resulting in the germination of fewer seeds, shorter shoots and greater soil acidity. However, we also know scientists apply higher microplastic concentrations under in vitro as opposed to natural conditions (in vivo).

Voir en ligne : Microplastics are in our fertilisers and soils, yet we know next to nothing about their environmental and health impacts