Microplastics as Contaminant in Freshwater Ecosystem: A Modern Environmental Issue

  • Muafia Shafiq
  • Abdul Qadir
  • Chaudhery Mustansar HussainEmail author
Living reference work entry


Plastic pollution emerged as an environmental problem during last quarter of twentieth century. This emerging pollution in aquatic ecosystems is degrading the food web and ecological integrity and posing hazardous effects on the environment. Plastic debris, fragments, fibers, and beads are the microplastics having size less than 5 mm and complex entities that persist within the environment for longer times. Recently, several scientists have reported the accumulation of microplastics in aquatic ecosystems all over the world. Most of the reports highlighted the marine environment, whereas limited literature is available to address the microplastics in freshwater ecosystems. This chapter highlights the sources, abundance, polymer type of microplastics, and recent developments in the methodology and discusses the questions focusing on its toxicological effects on freshwater biota. Current scientific literature reviews the different methods for microplastics sampling strategies on spatial and temporal scales, separation, identification of microplastics, and their impacts on ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems. Furthermore, several studies have been conducted on the transfer of microplastics from terrestrial ecosystem to freshwater bodies and how it becomes the part of human food chain. This chapter will be helpful in increasing the understanding for the development and implementation of appropriate policies related to plastic pollution.


Microplastics primary microbeads freshwater ecosystem Pyrene Fluroanthene toxicity to biota Munich plastic sediment separator PMEH programme Secondary microplastics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muafia Shafiq
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdul Qadir
    • 1
  • Chaudhery Mustansar Hussain
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Earth and Environmental science (CEES), Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  2. 2.Biotechnology and Food Research CentrePCSIR Laboratories ComplexLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry and Environmental ScienceNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Chaudhery Mustansar Hussain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Environmental ScienceNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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