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Occurrence, impact, toxicity, and degradation methods of microplastics in environment—a review

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Abstract

Microplastic defines as a tiny plastic particle that has a size of less than 5 mm and is ubiquitous in the environment. Due to the tiny size, this microplastic adversely affected the environment, notably aquatic life via ingestion, choking, and entanglement. This microplastic is arduous to degrade as it takes a thousand years due to the properties of plastic itself and consequently remains in nature. In dealing with microplastic issues, this paper reflects the occurrence, impact, toxicity, and degradation methods of microplastics in the environment including physical, chemical, and biological treatments. Here, the physical treatment methods include incineration treatment, ultraviolet (UV), and photocatalytic. The incineration process contributes to environmental pollution due to the release of toxic gases into the atmosphere. In addition, chemical treatments for plastic waste are the degradation process involving chemical additives such as ethylene glycol (EG), nano-magnesium oxide (MgO), diethylene glycol (DEG), and calcium or zinc (Ca/Zn) stearate as a catalyst. These treatments depend on the chemicals that can affect human health and the ecosystem. The biodegradation treatment using bacterial and fungal species can consume the microplastic without disrupting the surrounding environment and biota. It includes recent findings on the biodegradation of microplastic under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Thus, biodegradation can be considered the best option to degrade microplastic as green and sustainable technology.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledged the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, for providing the FRGS—RACER Grant 600-RMC/SRC/5/3 (051/2020) and IIUM-UMP-UiTM Sustainable Research Collaboration Grant (600-RMC/SRC/5/3 (051/2020)), for financially supporting this study and providing the resources.

Funding

The authors gratefully acknowledged the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, for providing the FRGS—RACER Grant 600-RMC/SRC/5/3 (051/2020) and IIUM-UMP-UiTM Sustainable Research Collaboration Grant (600-RMC/SRC/5/3 (051/2020)), for financially supporting this study and providing the resources.

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Norhafezah Kasmuri has prepared the main manuscript of the paper, editing, proofreading, and formatting the paper.

Nur Aliah Ahmad Tarmizi has prepared the main manuscript of the paper.

Amin Mojiri has done editing on the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Norhafezah Kasmuri.

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All data during this study are included from the previous studies.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Communicated by Philippe Garrigues.

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Kasmuri, N., Tarmizi, N.A.A. & Mojiri, A. Occurrence, impact, toxicity, and degradation methods of microplastics in environment—a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 30820–30836 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-18268-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-18268-7

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