250,000 euros for better microplastics research methods

Four researchers from the Environment & Health (E&H) department are part of a European research consortium that has received 250,000 euros. The consortium will focus on harmonization of microplastics analysis methods.

07/01/2020 | 5:00 PM

The European research project is called EUROqCHARM: EUROpean quality Controlled Harmonization Assuring Reproducible Monitoring and assessment of plastic pollution. The E&H scientists involved are Sicco Brandsma, Heather Leslie, Louise van Mourik and Jacob de Boer.

Numerous protocols, rarely comparable
Plastic pollution has become a global environmental and societal concern in recent years. Numerous protocols have been developed to monitor plastic debris, but these are rarely comparable. This has hindered gathering of knowledge regarding pollution sources, development of monitoring programmes and risk assessments, and implementation of mitigation measures.

EUROqCHARM will address this by critically reviewing state-of-the-art analytical methods and harmonise and validate them through interlaboratory comparison studies. This will bring together prominent laboratories in environmental plastics analysis and will produce certified reference materials to be marketed for water, soil or sediment, biota and air.

Recommendations for policy and legislation
Blueprints for standards, recommendations for policy and legislation, and support for the establishment of acceptable reference levels and environmental targets will be given. To maximise impact, EUROqCHARM will also establish an operational network for plastic monitoring, stimulating transnational joint actions built on existing and future European and international initiatives.