Project EFRE1018-PlasticFree


In March 2023, the project partners Eco Research (lead partner), Eurac Research, Ecocenter Spa, Atzwanger Spa, ARA Pustertal Spa, and Obrist Srl submitted a project proposal titled "PlasticFree - Harmful, widespread, and persistent: Identification and reduction of micro- and nanoplastics in freshwater environments in the Province of Bolzano," in response to the 1st Call - Priority 1 "Smart" - Specific objective "1.1 - Develop and strengthen research and innovation capacities and the introduction of advanced technologies," published under the ERDF Program 2021-2027.

With Decree No. 18465/2023 from the Director of the Office for European Integration, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano admitted the Project to ERDF co-financing, for a total cost of €1,217,937.02 and a maximum granted contribution of €971,685.82.

Also participating in the project, as a non-funding beneficiary partner, is the Biological Laboratory of the Provincial Agency for the Environment and Climate Protection.

Purpose of Project EFRE1018-PlasticFree:

Micro- and nanoplastics are everywhere, from glaciers to oceans, from the air we breathe to the food we eat; they have even been detected in blood, lungs, and human feces. They are small, insidious, resistant, ubiquitous, fragmentable particles recognized internationally as emerging pollutants. They have serious consequences for the environment and organisms, acting as vectors for pathogens and contaminants. Protocols for analyzing these substances are not yet standardized, and the reference legislation is in the process of being developed.

The general purpose of this project is to identify and quantify the spread of various forms and types of plastics in freshwater ecosystems, considering various sectors (river and lake waters, river sediments, rainwater, groundwater, drinking water, bioaccumulation in invertebrates and fish), as well as finding ways to increase the efficiency of reducing this emerging pollutant at the level of wastewater treatment plants (input and output analyses and in purification sludge) by using prototypes of reduction systems. We aim to achieve these goals through the interdisciplinary skills of the partnership, prioritizing the interest of the population, the environment, and the provincial territory.

The project will last for three years, from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026.

A dedicated website for Project EFRE1018-PlasticFree will soon be available, providing more extensive and detailed information on objectives, project activities, and results.

The partners of the EFRE1018-PlasticFree project - - - - -