As plastics production continues to grow globally, topics such as “microplastics“ and “plastics in the environment“ are the focus of discussions and are becoming more and more relevant. While the occurrence, distribution, and effects of plastics in limnic and marine waters have already been investigated, the data on plastic emissions in soils is still relatively thin. To date, neither the exact pathways, quantities, and concentrations of polymers in soil nor the effects of plastics on organisms and the soil ecosystem are known.
Within the iMulch project, methods are being developed and validated that enable plastics (micro- and macroplastics) to be detected in soils and drainage waters. The main focus should lie on detecting possible effects on the soil ecosystem, as well as on analyzing the effect of drainage water on municipal wastewater treatment processes. Plastic emissions from what is known as mulch film from agriculture are set to be analyzed as an example. The iMulch project thus contributes to assessing the effects of plastic emissions not only in water but also on the soil ecosystem. The research into a terrestrial system complements the examination of aquatic systems and thus makes it possible to take a holistic view of plastic emissions.