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Microplastics Are Now Being Poured on Farmland from Sewage Made Fertilizers

Microplastics floating on top of sewage
Microplastics filtered from sewage sludge at the wastewater treatment plant. James Lofty


  • A recent study from Science Direct published that between 31,000 and 42,000 tonnes of microplastics are being poured on European farmlands annually.

  • This is the same amount of microplastics that are seen in ocean surface waters.

  • This is happening because of European Directive that aims to meet a circular economy, by ordering waste excess from sewage treatment centers to be converted into fertilizer.

  • The UK has the highest amount of microplastics contaminating its soils, followed by Spain, Portugal, and Germany.

  • This is concerning because the plastics will eventually end up in the oceans or contaminate groundwater systems. Microplastics are also destroying the life of our soils (see below).

Why is this a problem?

Microplastics are a problem because they destroy the life in the soil over time by:

  • Providing transport for pathogens and leach toxins into the soil.

  • Microplasics are causing harm to earthworms. Earthworms are an essential organism for soil fertility. Studies show that earthworms undergo stunted growth and lose weight as a result of eating microplastics.

  • Microplastics make soils acidic, which hurts nutrient uptake for plants.

  • They reduce the water holding capacity soils

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