Microplastics impact how sand travels along riverbeds, suggesting microplastics could increase riverbed erosion, according to an international team of researchers. Roberto Fernández, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and project team member, said this could have effects on river habitats. The team’s findings were published in Nature’s Communications Earth & Environment.

“The study shows that plastic is not a passively transported component of river systems,” Fernández said. “It interacts with the sediment and plays an active role in riverbed transport processes and erosion.”

Microplastics may increase riverbed sediment movement, erosion | Penn State University (psu.edu)