EU project to explore the impacts of plastic debris on soil health and agricultural productivity

The impacts of plastic debris on soil health are largely unknown despite equal, or possibly greater, amounts of plastics entering soils as are reaching our rivers, seas, and oceans1. MINAGRIS, an EU-funded project which launches today, will explore how plastic debris is affecting soil biodiversity, soil functions, related ecosystem services, and agricultural productivity.

Plastic has many uses in agriculture. For example, mulches used for weed control often contain plastic, as do tractor tyres and some historically applied agrichemicals. However, the impacts of the resulting plastic debris left in the soil are little known, particularly when combined with other contaminants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

MINAGRIS (‘MIcro- and Nano-plastics in AGRIcultural Soils’) will examine the impacts of plastics on soil health by undertaking experiments in 11 case studies across Europe, working alongside stakeholders across the agricultural community. Once the impacts of plastics on soil health are established, the project will then provide farmers and other stakeholders with tools and guidance on how to assess their exposure and help them to transition away from using plastic-based products.

Coordinated by WU, MINAGRIS consortium counts 20 partners from 12 EU Member States countries with various biogeographical regions and representative of different farming systems and soils across Europe. MINAGRIS work plan articulates step by step along 6 technical Work Packages (WP2 to WP8), under the global framework of the coordination and Management work package (WP1), Comunication and Dissemeination (WP8) and Ethics (WP9).

1 Microplastics in freshwater and terrestrial environments: Evaluating the current understanding to identify the knowledge gaps and future research priorities. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969717302073

Press contact: Professor Julie Ingram, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.