Effects of Microplastics in Soil Ecosystems

Environmental Science and Technology published “Effects of Microplastics in Soil Ecosystems: Above and Below Ground” on September 11, 2019. Researchers with Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK declare that “the impacts of microplastics on soil ecosystems … remain largely unknown …”.

The report states the following:

“Different types of microplastics … were added to soil containing the endogeic Aporrectodea rosea (rosy-tipped earthworm) and planted with Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) … fewer seeds germinated. There was also a reduction in shoot height with [polylactic acid (PLA)]. The biomass of A. rosea exposed to [conventional high-density polyethylene (HDPE)] was significantly reduced compared to control samples. Furthermore, with HDPE present there was a decrease in soil pH … This study provides evidence that microplastics manufactured of HDPE and PLA, and synthetic fibers can affect the development of L. perenne, health of A. rosea and basic, but crucial soil properties …”