Journal of Hazardous Materials ( IF 9.038 ) Pub Date : 2020-10-17 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124299 Abdusalam Uheida; Hugo Giraldo Mejía; Mohamed Abdel-Rehim; Wael Hamd; Joydeep Dutta
Microplastic pollution of water and ecosystem is attracting continued attention worldwide. Due to their small sizes (≤ 5 mm) microplastic particles can be discharged to the environment from treated wastewater effluents. As microplastics have polluted most of our aquatic ecosystems, often finding its way into drinking water, there is urgent need to find new solutions for tackling the menace of microplastic pollution. In this work, sustainable green photocatalytic removal of microplastics from water activated by visible light is proposed as a tool for the removal of microplastics from water. We propose a novel strategy for the elimination of microplastics using glass fiber substrates to trap low density microplastic particles such as polypropylene (PP) which in parallel support the photocatalyst material. Photocatalytic degradation of PP microplastics spherical particles suspended in water by visible light irradiation of zinc oxide nanorods (ZnO NRs) immobilized onto glass fibers substrates in a flow through system is demonstrated. Upon irradiation of PP microplastics for two weeks under visible light reduced led to a reduction of the average particle volume by 65%. The major photodegradation by-products were identified using GC/MS and found to be molecules that are considered to be mostly nontoxic in the literature.