Microplastic – let’s get this story straight!

Microplastic – let’s get this story straight!

Microplastic is an emerging environmental pollutant, which has been receiving substantial attention in recent years. The lecture will summarize the findings of the latest scientific studies and will reflect on the news appearing in the media related to microplastic pollution. The audience will also be invited to gain hands-on experience in microplastic analysis.

Microplastic pollution has been shown in the media as a newly discovered environment threat. Studies reporting the widespread presence of microplastic particles in nature, food, and even in drinking water have raised concerns and already pushed legislature in some countries to take actions and ban the use of microplastics in certain products.

What are these small plastic particles exactly? Why have we become so worried about them? Are they truly dangerous? What can we do to decrease microplastic pollution? These are the central questions that the first part of the lecture will tackle and it will try to give a comprehensive view of the current state of microplastic research by summarizing the findings of the latest scientific studies. The lecture will reflect on the news appearing in the media related to microplastic pollution by giving an overview of the current state and knowledge of microplastic research.

The second part of the lecture will focus on microplastic analysis and will give an insight to what microplastic researchers do on a daily basis. It will demonstrate the steps from sampling to data analysis required to determine the amount of microplastics in the studied environment and will point out challenges researchers have to face.

After the lectures, the audience will be invited to become a microplastic hunter and as such, to try to find microplastic particles in a soil sample. The sample will be examined under a dissecting microscope to pick out microplastic particles. Afterwards, a so-called infrared spectrometer will be used to find out which plastic material the particle was made of. Additionally, to answer the question ‘what type of plastic is commonly found in the environment?’ the audience will have the opportunity to scan everyday objects to see if they are of plastic origin or not.

The presenters are Ph.D. students from Aalborg University having more than two years of first-hand knowledge and experience in measuring microplastics in different environmental samples.

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2 hours, inlcuding hands-on


Marta Simon


Aalborg University


PhD Fellow