Groundwater systems under siege: The silent invasion of microplastics and cock-tails worldwide

Odera R. Umeh, Duke U. Ophori, Eziafakaego M. Ibo, Chima I. Eke, Toritseju P. Oyen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Microplastics (MPs) contamination is one of the significant escalating environmental concerns worldwide, and this stems from the increasing production and unlawful disposal of plastic materials. Regretfully, the synthesis of plastic materials is expected to triple in the upcoming years. Nevertheless, MPs pollution in marine, aquatic, and terrestrial settings has received much attention, unlike in groundwater systems. This study exhaustively reviewed varying degrees of recent publications in various search engines and provided a detailed state of current knowledge and research progress vis-à-vis MPs and cock-tail pollution in groundwater systems. Evidently, groundwater sources are severely contaminated as a result of growing anthropogenic activities and vertical movement of MPs and cock-tails from the atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic environments, however, fewer researchers have fixated their attention on estimating the occurrence of MPs in groundwater resources, while sufficient information regarding their sources, sampling methods, abundance, transport pathways, fate, modeling techniques, appropriate and adequate data, sorption properties, separation from other environmental media, toxicity, and remedial measures are extensively lacking. In addition, MPs may combine with other toxic emerging contaminants to improve migration and toxicity; however, no research has been conducted to fully understand cock-tail migration mechanisms and impacts in groundwater systems. Over time, groundwater may be regarded as the primary sink for MPs, if effective actions are neglected. Overall, this study detected a lack of concern and innumerable voids in this field; hence, vital and nascent research gaps were identified for immediate, advanced, and interdisciplinary research investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124305
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2024


  • Admirable research gaps
  • Microplastics
  • Modeling
  • Toxicity
  • Transport
  • Treatment


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