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Microplastics in Europe’s Freshwater Ecosystems: From Sources to Solutions

Microplastic is no longer regarded as an issue confined to our great oceans. It’s a planetary pollution problem that affects practically all habitats, including freshwater. Leonardo da Vinci once described water as vetturale di natura, the vehicle of nature. We all are inextricably connected to this key natural resource, making water pollution a concern for the health of both humans and nonhumans. LimnoPlast is a program designed to address the problem of microplastics pollution in freshwater systems and train 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) while working on this complex environmental issue.

The project covers the chain of events from emissions to impacts and explores mitigation strategies such as end-of-pipe approaches and polymer redesign as alternatives to an ever-growing pollution scenario for our lakes, rivers and streams. The team is interdisciplinary and is keen to see its results put to good use by a variety of stakeholders from science, industry, policy and civil society.

LimnoPlast @ the VU: One LimnoPlast early stage researcher will be hosted by the VU Dept. of Environment and Health. The project focuses on microplastics in freshwater in Amsterdam and making the link to human exposure in the urban environment. This LimnoPlast sub-project is a collaboration between Dr. Heather Leslie of the Department of Environment and Health, VU Faculty of Science and Prof. Dr. Dick Vethaak of E&H and Deltares, Dr. Frans Buschman of Deltares and SIAAP Greater Paris Sanitation Authority  in France. The 4 year project kicked off in November 2019.

This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 860720. More information on LimnoPlast and its partners on main project website .

Contact @VU: Dr. Heather Leslie: