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In 2019–2021, we carried out a large-scale field project to study the number of microplastics in the environment. During the two-year project, 77 samples were taken from water, soil, snow, and the ditch and bottom sediments from the Helsinki metropolitan area, South Karelia and Pirkanmaa.

Project aim

The aim of the project was to collect information on the spread and prevalence of microplastics in different environments in a two-year monitoring project. For the project, seven urban, transport and recycling sites were selected as monitoring sites, in three different locations.

We planned the sampling and prepared a sampling plan. Samples were taken by a certified sampler. The samples were then analysed by Apila Group’s identification method in the company’s quality laboratory in Lehmo. The amounts of tyre-derived and other microplastic particles per kilogram of sample (soil and sediment samples, dry weight) or litre of sample (water and snow samples) were examined for all samples. The particle size identified from the samples was 0.1–5 mm.

Project results

Both tyre-derived and other microplastics were found in all sample types (water, soil, snow, sediment) and all sites. The effect of traffic was noticeable in the prevalence of tyre-based microplastics. Recycling activities were not found influence the presence of tyre-based microplastics in the environment. Non-tyre-derived microplastics were present in the studied sites more and over a wider area.

Apila Group’s method is an identification-based method in which the detected microplastic particles are identified and counted.

Further information on the method: Kirsi Mononen, kirsi.mononen@apilagroup.fi Tel. +358 50 5140 390

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