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Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume 337, 2022, 130458

A review on microplastics separation techniques from environmental media

Iqra Nabia,1, Aziz-Ur-Rahim Bachaaa,1, Liwu Zhanga,,b

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, PR China.


The world is facing a severe issue regarding microplastics (MPs) pollution, which is ascribed to its small micron size, low capture, and difficulties in removing it from the environment. The MPs' pollution control and removal policies throughout the world were a pioneering subject of plastics waste, but also a crucial problem that needs to be addressed by the governments and the communities. Considering the MPs pollution as a main scientific problem, this review summarized the conducted studies for MPs separation from environments including soil, water, and sediments, along with their removal performance, advantages, and limitations. Existing removal methods were synoptically presented. The main challenges of existing MPs removal methods are discussed, and future work recommendations are proposed. Meanwhile, there is no standardized method for MPs extraction from different environmental media. From soil, oil-based extraction or filtration can be used for easy separation of MPs while still there is a need to propose an effective standardized method. Water or sediments samples with low organic content can be filtered or sieved but stepwise methods need digestion or density separation before filtration. Although, complex samples need extra steps like digestion along with density treatment for MPs separation from samples. Employing a suitable approach with a synchronized method for MPs isolation from different media will help to do a comparison across the world. Additionally, future research should focus on the development of a cost-effective separation method or make a combination of different techniques to accompaniment corresponding limitations for efficient separation from different media. This study will help scientists choose the best separation method for MPs removal from different environmental media.

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