Research Revealing Threat of Microplastics to Global Food Production
Scientists at Staffordshire University in the U.K. are researching the scale of plastic pollution in agricultural soils and its impact around the world. According to a press release, microplastics in soil are estimated to take up to 300 years to completely degrade, and their presence alters soil characteristics such as its structure, water-holding capacity, and microbial communities. The researchers say their work shows that microplastic pollutants in soil can cause a decrease in seed germination rate and changes to seed production that could impact food production yields. They note that microplastics are accumulating in soil over time from use of plastics in greenhouse films and irrigation systems, and that this microplastic cannot be removed from the soil.