EPA awards US$25,000 to Southern Illinois University, Carbondale to study microplastic degradation; project to research microplastics in surface water, ground water, seawater, to benefit modifying treatment systems in wastewater treatment plants

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WASHINGTON , August 7, 2023 (press release) –

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $25,000 grant to Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in Carbondale, Illinois for research into the degradation of microplastics as part of the Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) program.

“EPA’s P3 program, now in its twentieth year, is an exciting and unique program that recognizes the power of students to translate imagination and science into new solutions that protect human health and the environment,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Congratulations to this year’s teams. Their innovative projects tackle critical environmental issues and include an eco-friendly coating to reduce contamination in marine environments, a device to remove microplastics from stormwater, an air monitoring and filtration technology to reduce student exposures to air pollutants, and more.”

With this funding, Southern Illinois University will study the degradation of plastics, observing the degradation rates under varying environmental conditions of microplastics and even smaller nanoscale plastics in surface water, ground water and seawater. The research is expected to be beneficial for modifying treatment systems in wastewater treatment plants.

P3 is a competitive grants program which offers university and college students the opportunity to take a leading role in scientific and engineering research. EPA awarded 21 P3 Phase I grants in 2023. The grant winners receive up to $25,000 each to help them develop their proof of concept and will be eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to further implement their designs.

Learn more about the P3 Phase I winners.

Learn more about EPA’s P3 program

Contact Information

Mary Pressley (pressley.mary@epa.gov)



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