Water quality specialists are searching for microplastic-reduction methods to preserve global water supplies. Individuals may experience adverse health effects from long-term consumption patterns, increasing the demand for water preservation systems. Using smart devices, purification technology, and efficient distribution practices, residents can access clean water while lowering their contribution to microplastic pollution.
Microplastics in Urban Water Supplies
Microplastics enter city water supplies in a number of ways. The most common source of microplastic pollution in drinking water is runoff. When individuals incorrectly dispose of plastic bottles and wastewater, the polymers break down into minuscule pieces.
When it rains, stormwater carries the microplastics from landfills and streets to lower elevations. As the polluted water passes supply facilities, it may mix with the clean water, infusing it with the polymers. Microplastics can also enter urban water supplies from inefficient wastewater treatment practices.
Some individuals dispose of contact lenses, dental floss, and other plastic materials down the drain or toilet. When cities purify the water for reuse, they may lack the necessary technology to filter out microplastics. Before exploring the various purification methods, developers must assess the ways city residents cause plastic pollution.
How Cities Contribute to Microplastic Pollution
City restaurants contribute to microplastic pollution by offering single-use utensils and containers. Few organizations are taking the initiative to lower collective reliance on plastic. Researchers predict plastic production will rise by nearly 40% by 2030 if demands remain consistent.
Urban residents also produce microplastics through their laundry appliances. Researchers found that articles of clothes can shed up to 308 milligrams (mg) of microplastics per kilogram of materials. When city developers install purification technologies and smart systems in urban areas, they can decrease the number of plastics polluting the environment.
Implementing Smart Recycling Systems
One smart city technology supporting pollution reduction is the optical sorting machine. Waste and recycling facilities use the device to identify and sort different types of plastic. It reads the fluorescent labels on packages at high speeds, distinguishing between food-grade and non-food-grade materials.
When urban areas adopt optical sorting devices, they can decrease the number of plastics entering landfills. They may also improve recycling rates, creating a circular economy. Urban developers can additionally target sneaky forms of microplastic pollution using drain troughs.
Installing Drain Troughs
Drain troughs connect to residential and commercial washing machines and collect wastewater. The technology slowly purifies the wastewater before sending it to a treatment plant. Unlike conventional filtration systems, drain troughs can remove minuscule impurities like microplastics.
Residents can install the devices in their homes, decreasing their contributions to pollution. City officials may also require laundromats to use drain troughs to improve local ecological conditions.
Add Accessible Water Fountains Throughout Cities
Another effective method for minimizing microplastic pollution is installing public water fountains. Increasing individuals’ access to fresh water promotes the use of reusable water bottles. A significant quantity of pollution derives from single-use bottles, and decreasing the circulation of these items can help preserve the urban water supply.
The Benefits of Reducing Microplastic Pollution
Decreasing the amount of microplastics in the water supply protects individuals’ health, lowering their risk of developing cancer. As urban areas reduce pollution rates, they also protect marine life.
When aquatic animals consume microplastics, they experience adverse effects on their endocrine systems. Decreasing a city’s reliance on plastic materials also helps individuals save money, minimizing their purchases of single-use bags and bottles.
Adopting Plastic-Reduction Methods
City developers often place urban waste facilities far from residential areas. Individuals’ lack of visual awareness decreases their concern for pollution reduction efforts. Professionals and public decision-makers must take the initiative and install microplastic prevention technologies and systems in urban areas to protect the water supply.
Over the past decade, many countries developed sustainability-enhancing plans to support global environmental conservation. Developers can use a portion of the funding from climate protection plans and public works projects to adopt microplastic prevention systems.
See more posts from Jane Marsh at environment.co
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