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Parks and Recreational Areas as Sinks of Plastic Debris in Urban Sites: The Case of Light-Density Microplastics in the City of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Soils of parks and recreational areas are potential sinks of microplastics because they are under multifunctional use. The aims of this research were to quantify and determine the types and abundance of light-density microplastics in one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world: Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Therefore, potential differences between the city districts were explored through the assessment of light-density microplastics’ concentrations in soils together with the soil properties. Microplastics were extracted from 74 soil samples. Predictions of microplastic concentrations and soil characteristics were made for the entire city by using ordinary kriging; 97% of the samples contained microplastic particles (MPPs), and on average, there were 4825.31 ± 6513.85 MPP/kg soil. A total of 21 hotspot samples were identified, and all of them contained LDPE, which represented 40.82% of the plastic types, in addition to 35.06% PAC and 15.58% natural polyamide. Other types of plastics were PP (0.19%), PS (1.30%), bioplastic (0.19%), PA (0.37%), PU (0.56), PVC (0.19%), and unidentified plastics (0.19%). There were no significant differences in MPP concentration between city districts. Our results showed that MPPs are abundant in urban soils, which represents a high risk for soil life. Further studies are required for identifying the sources of this pollution.

Publication date: 30/12/2021

Author: Quirine M. Cohen

Reference: doi: 10.3390/environments9010005

MDPI (environments)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.