Impact of microplastics on soil nutrients of UK farmlands arising from sludge application

Jesionkowska, Joanna (2023). Impact of microplastics on soil nutrients of UK farmlands arising from sludge application. Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University.


While we depend on soil for most of our food, approximately 70 % of soils are unhealthy. Use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer and soil conditioner has a long tradition, as it can provide nutrients necessary for crops. However, it was identified as the biggest contributor to soil microplastics. MPs from sludge treatment accumulate over time after each application while the nutrient is being taken up by crops. MPs can affect geochemical cycling of elements (such as C, N, and P) in soil. Once in the soil, MPs can change soil physicochemical properties: the porosity and water holding capacity is increased, the bulk density and moisture permeability are decreased. Chemically, MPs can also change soil pH. The alterations to soil structure change the rates of many microbial processes, including those in the nutrients cycles. The trade-off between the benefits of using sludge and the negative impacts on the environment and health across the entire soil ecosystem needs to be established. which names can be drawn.

Ideally, space science nomenclature should reflect a diverse array of people (with representation of different genders, cultures, and races, to name a few) and places. However, it appears that this expectation is not a reality; I have found that on Mercury just 11.8% of craters are named after a woman and for both Mars and the Moon only 2 % of craters named after a person commemorate women. This is, however, not just an issue of gender, and it is apparent that many forms of diversity are lacking in space science nomenclature. These statistics on representation within the nomenclature have not been investigated and are not publicly available.

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