LABPLAS – Land-Based Solutions for Plastics in the Sea


Understanding the sources, transport, distribution and impacts of plastic pollution

Once in the sea, plastics fragment into particles moving with the currents and ocean gyres before washing up on the coastline. The smaller the size the higher the risk posed by these particles to organisms and human health. LABPLAS will develop new techniques and models for the quantification of small micro- and nano plastics (SMNP). Specifically, LABPLAS will determine reliable identification methods for more accurate assessment of the abundance, distribution, and toxicity determination of SMNP and associated chemicals in the environment. It will also develop practical computational tools that should facilitate the mapping of plastic-impacted hotspots and promote a scientifically-sound plastic governance.

The objectives of LABPLAS are:
  • To understand the main land-based sources, transport routes, distribution and fate of plastics in different environmental compartments.
  • To test the hypothesis of increasing plastic levels in marine sediments / compartments with time
  • To evaluate the impact of microplastics and nanoplastics (MNP) from urban/road runoff on receiving waters by field and simulation studies in a pilot rainfall simulator in urban drainage
  • To develop, tailor, implement and pre-validate analytical technologies for the efficient detection, quantification and chemical characterisation of SMNP in environmental samples: biotic and abiotic.
  • To promote on solid scientific grounds public education on the environmental threat posed by plastics in the environment, avoiding false myths such as plastic islands, plastic-stuffed birds or association of human plastic exposure with marine food
  • To study under environmentally relevant conditions the weathering, behaviour, degradation, release of chemicals, and toxicology of bioplastics.
  • To demonstrate the effectiveness of remote sensing for macroplastic detection.
  • To assess the plastics impacts on key species and ecosystems.
  • To assess the terrestrial and aquatic environmental risk of ingestible plastic particles (from 100 to 0.1 µm) as a function of particle size and chemical composition.
  • To provide solid scientific grounds to current European policies intended to regulate the use and management of plastics, within the frame of the Plastic Strategy and Directive EU/2019/904, and ECHA’s initiatives on plastic additives and on restriction of SMNP.

Visit the project’s website for more information and follow its social channels for updates: Twitter and LinkedIn.

The project is coordinated by:


The LABPLAS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101003954