Removing microplastics from wastewater
People in developed nations consider their drinking water to be relatively safe, but antibiotics, pharmaceutical medicines and tiny plastic particles, or microplastics, are increasingly slipping into our waterways.
Traditional wastewater treatment does not successfully remove these contaminants. Instead, they end up in long-term contamination of soil, ground water, rivers and oceans.
Recent studies have estimated that Australians could be unwittingly consuming up to a teaspoon of harmful nano- and microplastics every week through bottled and tap water.
Traces of pharmaceuticals such as paracetamol and ibuprofen have even been detected in the surface waters of Antarctica.
Inventing an environmentally friendly water treatment
Edith Cowan University chemical engineering expert and highly cited researcher (Web of Science) Professor Hongqi Sun is leading a team looking for environmentally friendly ways to remove these contaminants without creating new problems by adding other ‘nasties’ like heavy metals to the system.