Queen’s University Belfast to assess damage caused by nano plastics and microplastics

Tackling plastic waste


Researchers from the institute for global food security at Queen’s University Belfast are finding ways to investigate the damage that nano plastics and microplastics can have on the human body. Queen’s University Belfast, located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, had received a grant of about 1 million Euros last year to fund a research project that will address plastic waste.

The researchers are working as a part of an international consortium led by Aston University. Also, they have been awarded over half a million pounds from the European Commission as a part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

There are estimated 5.25 trillion particles of plastic floating in the oceans. This is not only threatening the health of marine ecosystems and animals, but it is also posing threat to humans in many other ways.

Microplastics come from a range of everyday items through the breakdown of large plastic waste in bottles, shopping bags and industrial waste. Apart from this, they also come in the form of microbeads, which are small, manufactured plastic beads used in health and beauty products. Recent studies have found them in soil, tap water, bottled water, beer and air. This has led to a growing concern worldwide about the potential health risks they pose.

Professor Chris Elliott, co-leader of the project from the institute of global food security at Queen’s University Belfast said, “There has been a growing concern about the potential health risks microplastics pose to us, whether through ingesting the harmful bacteria they pick up when coming through wastewater plants, or the effect these nanoplastics could have when coming into contact with human cells.”

“The global production of plastic, that can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, is expected to triple by 2050 meaning the problem is only set to increase. This illustrates the urgent need for more research into the damage these plastic particles could be causing to us if we are to tackle possibly one of the planet’s greatest threats to our existence,” Professor Elliott added.

To address this increasingly serious problem, the European Commission is planning to issue a new drinking water legislation, to be published in 2019, which will ensure that water companies will need to measure concentrations of microplastics from within two years for positive release and inspection.

Dr Cuong Cao, who co-leads the ongoing project, from the school of biological sciences at Queen’s University Belfast said, “While in theory, we welcome this legislation, but in practical terms, there are huge financial and resource implications that could prevent its implementation. Highly skilled professionals will be required to operate the high-tech equipment and to run these tests successfully if we are to meet these standard measurements.”

“With the number of plastics set to increase each year, coupled with the complexity involved to reach an EC standard, this research project has come at a crucial time. It will enable us to work in collaboration with the most skilled researchers across Europe to enhance their skills as well as developing new technologies to enable industry and businesses to adhere to the proposed legal requirements of nano and microplastics in food and drink,” Dr Cao said.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

For editorial info@ippgroup.in — for advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1


Subscribe to our Newsletter


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here