Linking effects of microplastics to ecological impacts in marine environments.

Affiliation

Khalid N(1), Aqeel M(2), Noman A(3), Hashem M(4), Mostafa YS(5), Alhaithloul HAS(6), Alghanem SM(7).
Author information:
(1)Department of Botany, Government College Women University, Sialkot, Pakistan. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agroecosystems, School of Life Science, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, PR China.
(3)Department of Botany, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
(4)King Khalid University, College of Science, Department of Biology, Abha 61413, Saudi Arabia; Assiut University, Faculty of Science, Botany and Microbiology Department, Assiut, 71516, Egypt.
(5)King Khalid University, College of Science, Department of Biology, Abha 61413, Saudi Arabia.
(6)Biology Department, College of Science, Jouf University, Sakaka, Saudi Arabia.
(7)Biology Department, Faculty of Science, Tabuk University, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Recently, efforts to determine the ecological impacts of microplastic pollutants have increased because of plastic's accelerated contamination of the environment. The tiny size, variable surface topography, thermal properties, bioavailability and biological toxicity of microplastics all offer opportunities for these pollutants to negatively impact the environment. Additionally, various inorganic and organic chemicals sorbed on these particles may pose a greater threat to organisms than the microplastics themselves. However, there is still a big knowledge gap in the assessment of various toxicological effects of microplastics in the environment. Ecological risk assessment of microplastics has become more challenging with the current data gaps. Thus, a current literature review and identification of the areas where research on ecology of microplastics can be extended is necessary. We have provided an overview of various aspects of microplastics by which they interact negatively or positively with marine organisms. We hypothesize that biogeochemical interactions are critical to fully understand the ecological impacts, movement, and fate of microplastics in oceans. As microplastics are now ubiquitous in marine environments and impossible to remove, we recommend that it's not too late to converge research on plastic alternatives. In addition, strict actions should be taken promptly to prevent plastics from entering the environment.