Most microplastics in wastewater can be removed: Study

BEIJING (Xinhua) – Chinese researchers have discovered that more than 60 per cent of microplastics can be removed from wastewater, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The researchers from the CAS Wuhan Botanical Garden researched the removal of microplastics in a sewage treatment plant at Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province.

They found that 64.4 per cent of microplastics in wastewater can be disposed of, and the removed microplastics were mostly transferred to and stored in sludge. This study was published in the Chemical Engineering Journal.

Fibre and fragments were the main microplastics particles found at wastewater sampling sites.

The percentage of larger microplastics in the effluent wastewater was reduced compared to that in the influent wastewater due to decomposition during the flow of wastewater and sedimentation becoming sludge.

Polyamide, or nylon, was found to be the main plastic component in wastewater at 54.8 per cent, indicating that the microplastic particles may primarily originate from the wastewater discharged by washing clothes and polymer manufacturing and processing industries.