Interaction of nanoplastic debris with mineral substrates: application towards their removal from aqueous systems

, Gopala Krishna Darbha, Singh Nisha, Tiwari Ekta.

The abundance of plastic waste across the globe and its further degradation resulted in the widespread of nanoplastic debris (NPD) contaminating the majority of the water bodies. As the mechanism of separation of nanoplastics is distinct from conventional pollutants, it is challenging for the water treatment plants to supply plastic-free water. Our recent attempts to understand the interaction of nanoplastics with mineral substrates unveiled an eco-friendly methodology to successfully remove nanoplastics from freshwaters. The results showed that independent of temperature and persistent geochemical conditions (pH, ionic strength, inorganic salts), the clay particles participate in the hetero-aggregation of nanoplastics in all-natural waters[1]. The layered doubles hydroxides (Zn-Al) possessing a similar structure that of clays were then applied for the removal of NPD. Maximum sorption capacity (Qmax) of 162.62 mg/g was achieved in synthetic freshwater. However, the removal was less with an increase in hardness of water (Qmax=53 mg/g). A 100% removal of NPD was observed under acidic conditions (pH 4) and the removal significantly decreased at alkaline pH conditions (pH¿9). The current results show the Zn-Al hydroxides are promising adsorbents for the removal of NPD from freshwaters[2]. Reference: 1. Singh, N., et al., Understanding the stability of nanoplastics in aqueous environments: effect of ionic strength, temperature, dissolved organic matter, clay, and heavy metals. Environmental Science: Nano, 2019. 6(10): p. 2968-2976. 2. Tiwari, E., et al., Application of Zn/Al layered double hydroxides for the removal of nano-scale plastic debris from aqueous systems. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2020. 397: p. 122769.

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