Challenges and opportunities in sustainable management of microplastics and nanoplastics in the environment

Binoy Sarkar, Pavani Dulanja Dissanayake, Nanthi S. Bolan, Jaffer Yousuf Dar, Manish Kumar, Md Niamul Haque, Raj Mukhopadhyay, Sammani Ramanayaka, Jayanta Kumar Biswas, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jörg Rinklebe, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


The accumulation of microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems has raised concerns because of their adverse effects on ecosystem functions and human health. Plastic waste management has become a universal problem in recent years. Hence, sustainable plastic waste management techniques are vital for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Although many reviews have focused on the occurrence and impact of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs), there has been limited focus on the management of MNPs. This review first summarizes the ecotoxicological impacts of plastic waste sources and issues related to the sustainable management of MNPs in the environment. This paper then critically evaluates possible approaches for incorporating plastics into the circular economy in order to cope with the problem of plastics. Pollution associated with MNPs can be tackled through source reduction, incorporation of plastics into the circular economy, and suitable waste management. Appropriate infrastructure development, waste valorization, and economically sound plastic waste management techniques and viable alternatives are essential for reducing MNPs in the environment. Policymakers must pay more attention to this critical issue and implement appropriate environmental regulations to achieve environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112179
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Circular economy
  • Ecotoxicological effects
  • Micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs)
  • Plastic pollution
  • Sustainable waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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