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Understanding the Linkage Between Microplastics Pollution and One Health

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Understanding the linkage between microplastics pollution and One Health: propose a set of tools for assessing the impacts of microplastics on health

There is mounting evidence that microplastic pollution is a serious issue. According to studies conducted all over the world, tiny plastic fibers and particles have been discovered in rivers and lakes, seafood caught in the ocean, the air above distant mountaintops, and newly fallen snow in Antarctica. Recently, scientists discovered microplastics in the blood and lungs of humans. This project, led by Dr. Ngo Thi Thuy Huong of Phenikaa University (PU), aims to understand the relationship between microplastic pollution and One Health and to propose a set of tools for assessing the health impacts of microplastics. The project conducted field trip activities in the Nhue-Day River basin, including the collection of samples for microplastic analysis and the evaluation of residents' perceptions of this environmental concern.

The project surveyed 200 locals in Phu Ly (Ha Nam) across six occupational categories, including farmers, workers, officials, high school and university students, and small-scale businesses, regarding their knowledge of plastic products and microplastic pollution, as well as the associated health risks. A policy brief was produced based on the findings. Furthermore, Phenikaa University researchers and students conducted sampling in rivers and ponds to investigate the fates and impacts of microplastic pollution. All sediment and surface water samples contained microplastics. The most common species was PET, which had a wide range of densities (between 5 and 267 items/kg wt, or 44% of the total), while the densities of PS, HDPE, PVC, and PP were much lower (mostly under 10 items/kg wt). In this study, microplastics were hypothesized to be the vector for the dissemination of trace metals like As, Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, and Mn, and microbes, eg., E. coli harboring the CTX-M and TEM genes.

The project also encouraged researchers, lecturers, and students to communicate with one another through various workshops, seminars, and student clubs (OH.PKA). Students who were a part of the OH.PKA student club was involved in a variety of project activities, including fieldwork and workshops. During this project, more than 200 researchers, students, and scientists attended three workshops. The One Health perspective can be understood and applied to the problem-solving process for environmental health issues by students, researchers, and other related stakeholders.

The project made it possible for interdisciplinary stakeholders from a variety of fields to work together more closely to improve their understanding of microplastic pollution from multiple angles. The SEAOHUN Small Grants Program has made it possible for us to work with professionals from a variety of fields thanks to the financial assistance and support it provides. Furthermore, through workshops, seminars, and training lectures, our students have the opportunity to study, conduct research, and comprehend the One Health approach.

SEAOHUN 2022 Small Grants

Project team leader: Ngo Thi Thuy Huong

Team members: Le Thanh Thao – Phenikaa University., Ass. Prof. Hoang Thi Thu Ha - National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Dr. Nguyen Thuy Tram – National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Dr. Truong Van Thuong – Vice head of Department of Science and International Cooperation, College of Economics, Technology and Fisheries (CETF), Bac Ninh, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Dinh - Head of Geomatics Department, Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources.

- Personal protective equipment, distancing, and group size standards in this photo were consistent with local public health guidance and COVID-19 status in the specific country and time it was taken. This may not reflect best practices for all locations where COVID-19 is still spreading. -


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