Microplastics in freshwater environments represent a growing concern. The presence of microplastics in freshwater have been reported in different parts of the world – even in remote areas. Yet, scientific knowledge on microplastics in freshwater is limited.
The event presents the state of knowledge, research and policies on microplastics in freshwater. Results of the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) assessment on microplastics in freshwater and wastewater in 16 countries around the world will be presented, along with the state-of-the-art information on their potential human health and environmental effects. The findings of this assessment, presented in the UNESCO publication Microplastics in Freshwater Environments, highlight the need to improve scientific knowledge, fill data and policy gaps, and propose policy measures to reduce the discharge of microplastics into freshwater through better wastewater and solid waste management and by promoting sustainable production and consumption. The assessment therefore offers an important step towards developing appropriate policy solutions.
Moreover, leading experts will share their research on microplastics, with focus on: occurrence in freshwater; sampling and analysis; removal during wastewater treatment, and effects on freshwater and marine aquatic biota and the food web. The event will also discuss data and policy gaps and future research priorities.