Feasibility of using plastic wastes as constructed wetland substrates and potential for pharmaceuticals and personal care products removal

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Journal / PublicationJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Online published8 Jul 2020
Publication statusOnline published - 8 Jul 2020


Each year, large amounts of plastic waste are generated and must be appropriately disposed. In this work, we studied the feasibility of using plastics as wetland substrates as an alternative plastic waste disposal method and the ability of the constructed wetland to remove pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from contaminated water. Wetland microcosms were constructed using polycarbonate, polyethylene terephthalate, quartz sand, and ceramsite substrates. Lake water spiked with methyl-paraben, ibuprofen, triclosan, 4-methybenzylidene camphor, carbamazepine, and 17α-ethinyl estradiol at 5 μg L−1 was continuously loaded to the microcosms with a hydraulic retention time of approximately 11 days. After 70 days, methyl-paraben, triclosan, and 4-methybenzylidene camphor were effectively removed regardless of the substrate. However, ibuprofen, carbamazepine, and 17α-ethinyl estradiol were partially removed, and the removal efficiency was the best in wetlands with ceramsite substrate. Carbamazepine was the most persistent among the tested compounds. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis revealed that ceramsite supported the highest microbial biomass per bulk volume of substrate followed by quartz sand, polycarbonate, and polyethylene terephthalate, which might be related to the PPCP removal potential of the wetland microcosms.

Research Area(s)

  • Plastics, Disposal, Pharmaceuticals and personal care products, Sorption, Microbial degradation

Citation Format(s)