PROJECT EFRE1018-PlasticFree

In March 2023, the project partners Eco Research (lead partner), Eurac Research, eco center Spa, Atzwanger Spa, ARA Pustertal Spa and Obrist Srl, submitted a proposal entitled “PlasticFree – Harmful, Diffuse and Persistent: Identification and Reduction of Micro- and Nanoplastics in Freshwater Environments in the Province of Bolzano”, in response to the First Call – Priority 1 “Smart” – Specific Objective “1.1 – Develop and strengthen research and innovation capabilities and improve the entry of advanced technologies”, published within the ERDF Programme 2021-2027.

By Decree no. 18465/2023 of the Director of the Office for European Integration, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano admitted the Project for ERDF co-funding, for a total project cost of €1,217,937.02 and a maximum granted contribution of €971,685.82.

The partners of the project EFRE1018-PlasticFree are:

The Biological Laboratory of the Provincial Environmental and Climate Protection Agency also participates in the project as a non-funded partner.

Aim of the project EFRE1018-PlasticFree:

Micro- and nanoplastics are everywhere, from glaciers to oceans, from the air we breathe to the food we eat; they have even been detected in human blood, lungs, and faeces. These particles are small, insidious, resistant, ubiquitous, fragmentable, and internationally recognised as emerging pollutants. They have serious consequences for the environment and organisms and act as vectors for pathogens and contaminants. Protocols for analysing these substances are not yet standardised and reference legislation is being developed.

The overall aim of this project is to identify and quantify the diffusion of various forms and types of plastics in freshwater ecosystems, taking into consideration various sectors (river and lake water, river sediments, rainfall, groundwater, drinking water, bioaccumulation in invertebrates and fish), as well as to find ways to increase the abatement efficiency of this emerging pollutant at the level of purification plants (inlet and outlet analyses and in sewage sludge) by using prototype abatement systems. We aim to achieve these objectives thanks to the interdisciplinary expertise of the partnership by putting the interest of the population, the environment, and the provincial territory first.

The project will run for three years, from 01/01/2024 to 31/12/2026.

For more extensive and detailed information on the objectives, project activities and results of the EFRE1018-PlasticFree Project, please refer to the Project website.

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