The term “plastic” today encompasses thousands of products of various types. These cover a wide range of uses in everyday life and across the global population. Modern plastics exhibit vastly different characteristics from one another and are composed not only of the main polymer but also thousands of different molecules added to achieve the required properties for their use (plasticizers, colorants, softeners, flame retardants, etc.). The main characteristic of plastic is its durability over time, making it practically “eternal”: a plastic material product retains its characteristics and properties for decades, even when exposed to atmospheric agents. However, these agents have a significant abrasive effect and over time lead to the fragmentation of the polymer, resulting in “microplastics” (MPs). Microplastics have been found in every terrestrial environment, from the poles to glaciers, from surface soils to the deepest seas. To the extent that scientists worldwide now consider them one of the most significant environmental issues to address and resolve in the coming years.
For decades, Eco Research has been an environmental research institution dedicated to addressing environmental challenges. Now, we have taken on the challenge of measuring the extent of microplastic dispersion in the province of Bolzano.