Thursday 24 October 2019

Sewage Sludge and Soil Worm Populations ... NOT a Good Combination !!

Sewage Sludge (biosolids) and Soil WORM Populations - not a good combination! 
Time to stop using our agricultural soils as a sink for our cities' toxic sewage waste! 

Highlights -
  • New research from Anglia Ruskin University states that microplastics in soil are causing earthworms to lose weight.
  • Soil affected by microplastics produces less crop yield due to less productive earthworms and lower pH levels.
  • If this trend continues, our entire agricultural system could be compromised.


3.  " The findings reported here imply that the pervasive microplastic contamination in soil may have consequences for plant performance and thus for agroecosystems and terrestrial biodiversity."


5.  "Sewage sludge microplastics could pollute soil for thousands of years" "43% of microplastics that go down the drain eventually end up applied to agricultural land as biosolids."

 Highlights - 
"We investigated dissipation, earthworm and plant accumulation of organic contaminants in soil amended with three types of sewage sludge"
"This indicates that a chemical's short half-life in soil is no guarantee that it poses a minimal environmental risk, as even short term exposure may cause bioaccumulation and risks for chronic or even transgenerational effects."
"sewage sludge can present a potential risk for soil ecosystems and food webs, as a wide range of pollutants, organic and inorganic, enter water treatment facilities and end up in sewage sludge"
" there are no criteria taking into account the content of organic pollutants in sewage sludge"
"Organic pollutants may originate from detergents or other domestic chemicals, personal hygiene products, pharmaceuticals and a wide range of other products or wastes finding their way into the sewage system. Many of these organic pollutants are not degraded during waste water treatment processes, and reach soils where they may potentially cause harm to soil organisms … many of these chemicals are known or suspected endocrine disruptors
and may cause more chronic effects"
"The risk of adverse effects stems not only from their toxicity, but also from persistence and long-term exposure. High internal concentrations, as observed when organic pollutants bioaccumulate in organisms, can contribute to the environmental risk they may pose"
"The transfer of galaxolide and triclosan to earthworms was significant … . Although nonylphenol monoethoxylate rapidly dissipated in soil, it was still detected in earthworms three months after sludge application, suggesting that a chemical's short half-life in soil could still pose environmental risks." 

December 2020 update - 

Impacts of polyethylene microplastics on bioavailability and toxicity of metals in soil

"MPs increased the bioavailability of metals in the soil and the toxic effects to earthworms. These findings provide insights regarding the impacts of MPs on the bioavailability of metals and the combined toxic effects of these two kinds of pollutants on terrestrial animals"