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    A Scientific Perspective on Microplastic Pollution


    The objective of this review was to systematically collate and categorise published and grey literature relating to microplastic pollution in the environment, and the potential socio-economic implications, to support a report for policy advice on microplastics for the European Commission.


    Concern about the prevalence and impacts of microplastic pollution in the environment is increasing, and as a result there is growing call for political action. Whilst there is a general consensus that plastic pollution must be controlled and reduced, the plastic and microplastic debate is made particularly complex by the fact that it is a consequence of an everyday and globalised way of living and consuming, with many socio-economic implications.

    This evidence review systematically gathered and collated published and grey literature relating to:

    1. The impact, source, transport and incidence of microplastics in the environment

    2. The socio-economic implications around the microplastics debate including: risk perception by citizens, behaviour of stakeholders, and implications for public goods and opportunity costs, and the political economy and policy.

    The evidence was categorised and presented in a systematic map to support a final report for the European Commission published by SAPEA: A Scientific Perspective on Microplastics in Nature and Society.

    Funded by SAPEA

    This project forms part of the work carried out by the Centre for Evidence Based Agriculture at Harper Adams University.

    Funding Body

    Consortium of Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA)

    Lead Organisation

    Harper Adams University

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