Recent Global Actions on MPs

  • • In the year 2012, Unilever decided to wipe out microplastics from all of its personal-care products by the year 2015.
  • • The report of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in the year 2014 recommended to increase the efforts to understand the effects of MPs, its capacity to absorb and transfer persistent, toxic and bioaccumulating chemicals.
Some of the effects of MPs on freshwater fishes

FIGURE 12.5 Some of the effects of MPs on freshwater fishes.

Ecotoxicological effects of MPs on fishes based on 21 studies

FIGURE 12.6 Ecotoxicological effects of MPs on fishes based on 21 studies. Studies were defined according to types of MPs and their effects. (Data from de Sa LC et al. Science of The Total Environment 645, 2018, 1029-1039.)

  • • The states of Illinois and California (US) passed bills to impose bans on manufacturing and selling of personal-care products with microplastic beads, in the year 2014 and 2015, respectively.
  • • The US has banned the production of personal-care products containing MPs in the year 2017 and also has decided to stop the sale of drugs containing MPs.
  • • In the year 2018, the United Kingdom imposed a ban on the manufacture of personal-care products containing microplastic beads.
  • • From the year 2020, countries including Sweden, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway will ban the sale of cosmetics with MPs and have called on the EU for an EU-wide ban.

• WHO, in the March 15, 2018, edition of the newspaper article of The Guardian reported that WHO is considering launching a health review in response to a study where MPs were found in more than 90% of some of the popular packaged water brands.


This chapter compiled the comprehensive information about the importance of the study of MP contamination in freshwater along with the ways of accumulation and effects on fishes. In this regard, the following topics were discussed: (a) microplastics overview, types and sources, (b) methods of ingestion of MPs by fishes and (c) effects of MPs on fishes.

From the literature, it can be concluded that MPs are a dormant hazard for aquatic organisms and their quantity is increasing day by day; it is the reason behind the several abnormalities in the behavior and health of fishes. Fishes ingest MPs intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, and the MPs get accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract and stomach of biota. PE, PS and, furthermore, PVC are among the most extensively studied MPs obtained from inside the freshwater fishes. This chapter shows the data on the ingestion of MPs by fishes of different freshwater bodies and also provides graphs to show the effects of these accumulated particles on fishes.

Based on the investigation, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • • More attention is needed toward freshwater MP studies.
  • • Rules are needed to counter the generation of MPs in water bodies.
  • • There should be a ban or monitoring over the production of personal-care products containing MPs, as they are one of the primary sources.
  • • Toxic effects and biomagnifications of MPs through food chains need to be evaluated comprehensively.
  • • Better understandings of MPs effects on humans is needed.
  • • Techniques are needed to filter out MPs from wastewater in treatment plants.
  • • Researchers should establish techniques of detection and filtration of MPs from water at a satisfactory level.
  • • Further studies should be directed toward prevention, awareness and reduction and counter methods.
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