Microplastics in Inland Small Waterbodies

Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 95)


Small waterbodies are the most numerous and widespread freshwater environments, and they play important roles in supporting freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem service delivery. There has been a considerable increase on research of environmental pollutants in small waterbodies, but only a few works have focused on microplastic (MP) occurrence and effects. MP pollution has been well documented in large freshwaters. Meanwhile, small waterbodies are also the receiving waters of MPs through stormwater runoff, atmospheric deposition, etc. In this chapter, we first introduce the definitions and characteristics of a range of small waterbodies and their ongoing threats. Next, we overview the distributions and characteristics of MPs in small waterbodies worldwide and offer some insights into their sources. Furthermore, we give a brief discussion about interactions of MPs with freshwater biota and describe the toxicity effects of MPs on amphibians in detail. Lastly, we demonstrate the current awareness of people about small waterbodies and provide potential approaches to minimize their MP pollution. Overall, high abundances of MPs are observed in water and sediment collected from various types of small waterbodies, and MPs pose a significant threat to the resident organisms and human health. Yet, less detailed information is available on small waterbodies’ MPs at present. Therefore, we appeal more researchers and policy-makers to focus on the protection and management of small waterbodies.


Characteristics Management Microplastics Risks Small waterbodies 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the Natural Science Foundation of China (41776123).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colleage of EnvironmentZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Key Laboratory for Urban Ecological Process and Eco-Restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental SciencesEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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