Horizon 2020 Citizen Science App

MINAGRIS | Micro- & Nanoplastics in Agricultural Soils

The impact of plastic pollution on soil health is largely unknown. However, the amounts of plastic entering soils are equal to or possibly even more significant than those entering our rivers, seas, and oceans. MINAGRIS, an EU Horizon 2020 funded project, will investigate how plastic affects soil biodiversity, soil functions, associated ecosystem services, and agricultural productivity.
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This project has received funding
from the European Union's Horizon 2020
research and innovation program
under grant agreement No 101000407

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MINAGRIS - Assessing the impact of micro-plastics and nano-plastics in agricultural soils

Plastic has many uses in agriculture - from packaging to storage and more. Plastic can also be inadvertently introduced into soils with composts. However, little is known about plastic waste's effects on soil, especially when it co-occurs with other pollutants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals. MINAGRIS will investigate the impact of plastics on soil health by conducting experiments in 11 case studies across Europe in collaboration with stakeholders from across the agricultural community. Once the impact of plastics on soil health is known, the project will provide farmers and other stakeholders with tools and guidance to assess the exposure of their soils. It will also advise farmers on avoiding the use of plastic-based products wherever possible.

The overall aim of MINAGRIS is to contribute to healthy soils in Europe by providing a deeper understanding and tools to assess the impact of micro-plastics and nano-plastics in agricultural soils on biodiversity, plant productivity, and ecosystem services and provide recommendations for sustainable use of plastic in agriculture at the farm and field levels for ensuring safe and economically viable food systems in Europe.

Coordinated by Wageningen University, the MINAGRIS consortium counts 20 partners from 12 EU Member States countries with various biogeographical regions and representatives of different farming systems and soils across Europe. MINAGRIS work plan articulates step by step along with six technical Work packages under the global framework of the coordination and Management work package and Ethics.

Our contribution to the Horizon 2020 MINAGRIS Project

Citizen Science Smartphone App for detection and monitoring of visually recognizable plastic residues in soils

For assessing and monitoring visual plastic remainders in soils, our task is to develop a Citizen Science smartphone application. The App will be available for Android, IOS, and participation via Browser in the project's website. The plastic observations recorded in the App will send GPS and other input data to an online database. The deployment and validation take place at case study site fields, using feedback from farmers and other local users. Additional communication tools are integrated to enable broad participation by Citizens Scientists to ensure an exchange of experience and immersion. 

The Citizen Science App is actively distributed to people linked with the agricultural world, like farmers & consultants, teachers & students, and the interested public across Europe to maximize the amount of data collected. Teachers and students at agricultural schools can use the App during excursions and field visits, and farmers can assess the plastic pollution in their fields and the changing amount over time. Information collected will overview the plastics present in European agricultural soils. The distribution of the MINAGRIS App facilitates the visibility of the project to the general public by bringing together a community around an easily accessible and user-friendly application.

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