PFPW.NEWS – July 24, 2020

Contents:

~   NAS Committee to Identify EPA Research Challenges
~   Plastic Waste – Massive Accumulation in the Environment Predicted
~   Microplastics – Environmental Health Effects
~   Microplastics – Effects on Shrimp Studied
~   Microplastics – Effects in Soil Ecosystems Studied
~   Consortium to Reinvent the Plastic Retail Bag Established 

NAS Committee to Identify EPA Research Challenges 
– On July 23, 2020, the National Academies announced that it is seeking by August 5, 2020, the nomination of individuals to serve on its “Committee on Anticipatory Research for EPA’s Research and Development Enterprise to Inform Future Environmental Protection: The Road Ahead” – Committee members will “… identify emerging scientific and technological advances from across a broad range of disciplines that EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) should consider in its research planning to support EPA’s mission for protecting human health and the environment. In addition, the committee will recommend how ORD could best take advantage of those advances to meet current and future challenges during the next 10-20 years …”  #EPAResearch #EPAORD 

Plastic Waste – Massive Accumulation in the Environment Predicted – According to a report published July 23, 2020 in Science Magazine researchers have estimated “… the effectiveness of interventions to reduce plastic pollution … [They modeled] stocks and flows of municipal solid waste and four sources of microplastics through the global plastic system for five scenarios between 2016 and 2040. Implementing all feasible interventions reduced plastic pollution by 40% from 2016 rates and 78% relative to ‘business as usual’ in 2040. Even with immediate and concerted action, 710 million metric tons of plastic waste cumulatively entered aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. To avoid a massive build-up of plastic in the environment, coordinated global action is urgently needed to reduce plastic consumption, increase rates of reuse, waste collection and recycling, expand safe disposal systems and accelerate innovation in the plastic value chain …” – The report was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT), and conducted by researchers with PCT, the University of Leeds, the University of Oxford, SYSTEMIQ and others.  #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #Recycling #SingleUsePlastic

Microplastics – Environmental Health Effects
– The National Academies on July 22, 2020 released the “Proceedings of a Workshop in Brief” on a workshop held January 27-28, 2020 in Washington, DC on the subject: “Emerging Technologies to Advance Research and Decisions on the Environmental Health Effects of Microplastics”  during which “… experts from the environmental science and health communities came together … to explore how emerging technologies and research strategies could help address important environmental health questions about microplastics … Despite the widespread prevalence of microplastics, little is known about the effects they may have on living things …” – The workshop agenda and presentation recordings are here.  #MicroPlastics #SingleUsePlastic #FoodPackaging

Microplastics – Effects on Shrimp Studied
– According to a report published in the August 2020 issue of Environmental Pollution by researchers with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain researchers evaluated “… differences on the ingestion of anthropogenic [microplastic] fibers in the deep-sea shrimp Aristeus antennatus in the NW Mediterranean Sea and its relation with shrimp’s health … Synthetic fibers … were found in both stomach … and intestine contents … No consistent effect on shrimp’s health condition was found, with only a significant negative correlation found between gonadosomatic index and fibers for those shrimps with the highest values of fiber load … Our findings contribute to the knowledge on plastic pollution for the NW Mediterranean Sea and highlight the potential use of this species as a sentinel species for plastic fiber contamination …” #MicroPlastics

Microplastics – Effects in Soil Ecosystems Studied 
– According to a report published September 11, 2019 in Environmental Science and Technology by researchers with Anglia Ruskin University in the UK “… Environmental contamination by microplastics is now considered an emerging threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning … different types of microplastics … were added to soil containing the endogeic Aporrectodea rosea (rosy-tipped earthworm) and planted with Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) to assess the biophysical soil response … fewer seeds germinated. There was also a reduction in shoot height with PLA. The biomass of A. rosea exposed to HDPE was significantly reduced … with HDPE present there was a decrease in soil pH. The size distribution of water-stable soil aggregates was altered when microplastics were present, suggesting potential alterations of soil stability. 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, with potential further impacts on soil ecosystem functioning …” #MicroPlastics #HDPE #PLA

Consortium to Reinvent the Plastic Retail Bag Established 
– Establishment of the Consortium was announced July 21, 2020 by the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners with leading retailers  – The aim of the Consortium is to “… reinvent the single-use plastic retail bag, with the goal of identifying, testing and implementing viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag … Collectively, Consortium partners have committed more than $15 million to launch the Beyond the Bag Initiative … [which] convenes some of the largest and most influential retailers in the United States … Innovative design solutions to serve the function of today’s retail bag will be solicited … through the Consortium’s global Innovation Challenge  … [which] invites innovators, suppliers, designers and problem-solvers to submit their ideas for game-changing sustainable bag solutions …” #PlasticWaste #PlasticBag #Recycling #SingleUsePlastic