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Finnish Environment Institute | Suomen ympäristökeskus | Finlands miljöcentral

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Microplastics in agricultural soil – Sources, effects and reduction (MicrAgri)

Various products have been developed for agricultural use to facilitate cultivation, increase yields and improve the profitability of agriculture, but which, on the other hand, can act as sources of microplastics in the soil. Microplastics can end up on agricultural land e.g. via mulching films, silage bales, insect nets, irrigation systems, coating materials of agricultural machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation water and atmospheric deposit.

However, there is very little information on microplastics and their impact in agricultural soil. Such information is urgently needed to identify the main sources of microplastics and their potential risks so that the measures to reduce the emissions and risks of microplastics can be proposed.

New biodegradable materials have been developed to replace conventional plastics. However, not only the benefits of these substitute materials, but also the potential risks should be assessed to ensure the safe use of the materials, and the quality and fertility of the soil in the long run.

The aim of this project is to identify the main sources of microplastics in agricultural soil, to evaluate the impacts of microplastics and substitute materials in soil, to find suitable methods for studying the effects of microplastic in soil and to propose measures to reduce microplastic emissions. These measures will be made available for farmers, material producers and decision makers.

The project is funded by the the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and its Development Fund for Agriculture and Forestry (Makera).

Published 2020-05-20 at 12:03, updated 2020-05-22 at 11:10

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