A focus on new emerging substances like microplastics, nanoparticles and drugs. What are the effects of these substances? And how can we mitigate or prevent these effects? Theme Afternoon on 15 March in Amsterdam.
Micropollutants in the environment
Last year a lot of attention was directed at pharmaceutical residues in the aquatic environment. Research studied the impact and possible measures. This is now fleshed out via the national ‘Chain Approach to Reduce Pharmaceutical Residues in Water’.
In the meantime, new Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) have appeared: nanoparticles, microplastics, drugs and other micropollutants.
New applications for nanoparticles are discovered practically every day. The market is growing at a breath-taking pace. Consumers are buying masses of sunscreen, dirt-proof clothing, cleaning products and paints containing nanoparticles, which ultimately end up in the wastewater through the (shower) drains. There are strong indications that these nanoparticles are barely removed during wastewater and drinking water treatment. Their behaviour is unpredictable. Research shows that plants uptake these particles without safety mechanisms, with the result that they end up in the food chain. They also easily cross the blood-brain barrier in mammals.
More microplastics in the environment via household products
For years now we’ve known that some manufacturers use microplastics in cosmetics. Some manufacturers have, under societal pressure, promised improvements. However, in the beginning of 2017 there was no sign of a reduction in the use of microplastics: instead of the 5 types of plastics in 2012, there are now 67 types of plastics present in known products like toothpaste, scrubs, shampoo and nail polish, but also significantly in new products, such as lipstick, mascara, deodorant and other cosmetics. Today’s wastewater system is only marginally capable of removing these particles. The washing of synthetic clothing is also an important contributing source, accounting for about 33% of primary microplastics in the aquatic environment.
Drugs in Amsterdam’s wastewater
And then they’re the ‘other micropollutants’. Substances that are discharged through the wastewater chain, in which they are removed only to a limited degree, and that threaten drinking water sources but don’t come under the ‘pharmaceutical residues’ heading. Illicit drugs would be an example. The wastewater in Amsterdam contains the highest concentration of such drugs among European cities.
On Thursday afternoon, 15 March, we’ll be shining the spotlight on these ‘new particles’: What kind of particles are they? Where do they come from? What effects do they have on the aquatic environment? And how can we mitigate or, better, prevent these effects?
Theme Afternoon: CECs, Drugs & Plastic Balls
On 15 March, we’ll be sharing the latest knowledge and experience regarding nanoparticles, microplastics and other micropollutants, such as drugs. Specific attention will be paid to the sources, impact on the aquatic environment, and measures to prevent spreading, such as a source-approach and removal techniques during wastewater treatment and drinking water production.
Date: Thursday, 15 March 2018
Time: 12:30-17:00, walk-in with lunch as of 12:00
Participation: KNW members free; non-members € 100
Take part and immediately become a member: 25% discount, i.e., € 75
Registration: click here to register
Organisation: KNW Wastewater and Valorisation theme group