How wastewater treatment tackles micro-plastics?
Treatment of wastewater is one of the best possible way to treat various types of pollutants present in wastewater, the pollutants including chemicals, plastic bags and micro-plastics are separated and treated to make water clean and pollutants free. In the below mentioned paragraphs we will critically understand the process optimized by the wastewater treatment plant to clinically treat the wastewater in a way that it could remove the micro-plastic particles present in water.
- Screening: Screening is the first step in the treatment of the wastewater. The wastewater treatment plants use screenings methods to physically filter out the larger particles, including micro-plastics. The screening methods helps in capturing a range of particle sizes, depending on the mesh size. However, they are not highly effective at removing the smallest micro-plastics.
- Secondary or biological treatment: The secondary step is the biological treatment process, many wastewater treatment facilities employ secondary treatment processes, such as activated sludge or biological nutrient removal, which may aid in the removal of some smaller micro-plastics particles through the settling and biological processes.
- Advanced filtration: Some water treatment plants implement advanced filtration technologies, like microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes, it use to capture smaller particles, including micro-plastics. These technologies use in effectively remove a significant portion of micro-plastics from the wastewater.
- Chemical treatment: The chemical treatment process use in treating the waste through the use of various chemicals, in the chemical treatment method chemicals are used, and they helps in removing and eliminating the micro-plastics in the process.
- UV treatment: Ultraviolet (UV) light can be used to break down or degrade the micro-plastics from the waste. Although it is possible that it may not completely remove the micro-plastics but it helps significantly in reducing the size and potential environmental impact.
- Sedimentation and settling tanks: The large water treatment plants do have certain big settling tanks which are used to settle down the solid waste in the bottom of the wastewater tank, in this process many a times the micro-plastics get settled down along with the solid waste.
The wastewater treatment plants helps us in removal of micro-plastics from wastewater, but the increasing use of plastic products makes it difficult to treat the gradual increasing abundance of micro-plastics from the environment, the different shape and size of micro-plastic makes it even difficult to determine the typical size for the treatment. Well, the best possible way to remove the micro-plastic waste from the environment is to increase the public awareness about the ill-effect of plastic in humans and environment.
It's important for us to understand that while the above mentioned methods used by water treatment plants can reduce the presence of micro-plastics in treated wastewater, but it might possible that it is not completely efficient in eliminate them. Furthermore, few micro-plastics particles may pass through treatment facilities and may enter the environment. Well, the water treatment plant makes best efforts to reduce the effect of the micro-plastics from the environment but for completely eliminating the micro-plastics from environment we need to create awareness among people and we need to reduce the use of plastic products, to improve waste management, and addressing the issue of micro-plastics at its root. Additionally, a research program is required to create micro-plastic removal technological for advanced treatment of these critical elements.
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