Gyeonggi conducts first study on microplastics in four urban and rural watercourses

Createdd 2022-02-14 Hit 138

Contents

○ Investigation of microplastics in regional watercourses commences this year
– Study on microplastic distribution in four watercourses, such as Bokhacheon Stream
– Study on impact of sewage treatment facility effluent

The Gyeonggi-do Institute of Health and Environment plans to conduct a study on microplastics in watercourses of the Gyeonggi region. This study, the first conducted by the institute since its establishment, will run until October this year.

The study will include four watercourses in Gyeonggi Province: the Tancheon and Osancheon streams (urban areas), the Bokhacheon Stream (rural area), and the Gyeongancheon Stream (urban/rural area). The specific timeline will be determined this month, and will commence with on-site surveys (e.g. status of tides and floating substances) from March to October and instrumental analyses (microplastic types and content).

Of particular note, the institute plans to identify the impact of sewage treatment facility effluent on water quality, as well as weather conditions, by studying two additional sewage treatment facilities that utilize different treatment methods.

In line with increased interest in the risk posed by microplastics, the institute also plans to identify characteristics of microplastic distribution and pollutant sources, utilizing such data for basic environmental management.

Gyeonggi-do Institute of Health and Environment Director Park Yong-bae said, “Although studying microplastics in watercourses is not an easy task, we will carry out the study and devise measures for the healthy lives of residents and environmental preservation.” Park added, “We will expand the study target by repeating the investigation and developing the proficiency of the investigators.”

Microplastics refer to synthetic polymers that are less than 5 mm in size. Common microplastics include polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are found in single-use plastics, vinyl items and mask filters. They are extremely small, impacting watercourses even after filtration by sewage treatment facilities and causing soil pollution as well as harm to human health since they may be ingested through the consumption of fish.