Microplastics and micropollutants in Water

This paper describes the adverse impacts of microplastics and micropollutants on human and animal life, as well as recent policy developments to address these problems.

The report Microplastics and micropollutants in Water, released by the European Investment Bank at the Our Ocean Conference in March 2023, outlines costs and benefits of investments needed to mitigate adverse impacts of microplastics and micropollutants.

It stresses that most microplastics end up in the water bodies, directly threatening aquatic life that ingest the particles, and indirectly organisms that eat aquatic life — including humans. About 1.5 million tonnes of microplastics enter the oceans every year.

The report recommends continuing to invest in new and expanded conventional wastewater treatment plants and stormwater management systems to further reduce microplastics pollution.

To lower levels of micropollutants, which are almost invisible elements coming from products such as industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic products, pesticides and hormones, the report highlights the necessity to invest in additional treatment known as “quaternary treatment”. It concludes on the need to involve the public sector to mitigate the potentially adverse impacts of microplastics and micropollutants.

To help reduce macroplastic and microplastics pollution world-wide, the EIB established with its partners the Clean Oceans Initiative, which intends to provide four billion euros in lending until 2025. These funds will be utilised to help the public and private sectors implement sustainable projects that collect plastic and other waste and remove microplastics by collecting and cleaning wastewater before it reaches the oceans. The initiative already reached 65 per cent of its four billion euro funding target, with 2.6 billion euros invested in projects that will benefit more than 20 million people living in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.


Read more and download the report at EIB website

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