MICROPLASTICS
Aimplas project to probe wastewater treatment technology in Valencia / Standardised methodology is needed
Spanish plastics technology centre Aimplas (Valencia; www.aimplas.net) has launched its “Microplast” project, which will focus on developing a standardised methodology to detect, quantify and remove microplastics at wastewater treatment plants. The centre plans to test two new treatment technologies that use sand and carbon filters together with membrane reactors to remove the minuscule plastic particles from the water.

Aimplas said the project reflects “growing concern” about the role microplastics have been acknowledged to play in the pollution of water. The centre is coordinating the research in cooperation with local water provider Aguas de Valencia and the Universitat de València. Project funding is from the Agència Valenciana de la Innovació (AVI). Aimplas’ researcher Elena Domínguez said one of the main targets of Microplast is to anticipate legislation that may be passed in the near future. European restrictions on microplastics are being debated by the European Commission, with certain member states having already taken measures to ban microplastic particles in some products – see Plasteurope.com of 01.02.2019.

A standardised methodology would help quantify the presence of microplastics in sludge from urban treatment plants and in industrial water at recycling pilot plants, Domínguez said. Of crucial importance will be obtaining data on the presence of the particles in the different wastewater sources so as to shed light on the current situation. A common methodology would also make it possible to assess the efficiency of different filtering methods, the centre believes. Another goal is to try to reconcile different conclusions reached up to now about the potential risks the plastic particles of less than 5 mm in diameter may pose for human health or the environment.

Aimplas stressed that the results of the research should allow all stakeholders to integrate the EU’s circular economy criteria into their business models and “turn the legislative changes affecting them into opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability and reduce their environmental impact.”

Recently, researchers at the Universitat de Barcelona published a study on microplastics found along Spain’s coastal waters – see Plasteurope.com of 25.03.2019. PE, PP and PS were the most abundant microplastics found in these marine environments.
16.08.2019 Plasteurope.com [243122-0]
Published on 16.08.2019

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