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TU Berlin

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Structure – Interdisciplinary topic “assessment of microplastic particles in the water cycle”

A first profound assessment of the problem of mircoplastics in fresh waters will be conducted towards the end of the joint project, covering emission sources, water bodies, and drinking water. This will be reached by combining the findings on biological effects and the quantitative results for water and sediment samples from selected areas with high microplastic burden. Particles will be characterized by diameters, shape (e.g. fibres, spheres), and polymer types (including tire wear). Additionally, the assessment will include microplastic ageing, particle coverage with biofilms and other solids, the role of polymer additives, and adsorption/desorption of pollutants. The assessment will be aligned with findings from other research groups in national and international projects. Therefore, workshops on the environmental risk of microplastics will be held in the first and third years of the project. Findings on sources and on the efficiency of existing sinks and technological barriers (wastewater treatment plants, water works) with respect to different microplastic types will also be included in the assessment.

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