Microplastics: An introduction to environmental transport processes

Alice Horton, Simon Dixon

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Microplastic pollution is widespread across the globe, pervading land, water, and air. These environments are commonly considered independently, however, in reality these are closely linked. This review gives an overview of the background knowledge surrounding sources, fate and transport of microplastics within the environment. We introduce a new “Plastic Cycle” concept in order to better understand the processes influencing flux and retention of microplastics between and across the wide range of environmental matrices. As microplastics are a pervasive, persistent and potentially harmful pollutant, an understanding of these processes will allow for assessment of exposure to better determine the likely long-term ecological and human health implications of microplastic pollution.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Early online date28 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2017


  • plastic pollution
  • plastic cycle
  • sediment
  • soil
  • freshwater
  • fate


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