ASEF Speaker Series

Dr Gabriela Kalčíková: The issues of microplastics in the environment

March 21, 2024 | 7:00 pm | Prešernova dvorana Slovenske akademije znanosti in umetnosti (ZRC SAZU), Novi trg 4, 1000 Ljubljana

As part of the ASEF Speaker Series, the American-Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) in cooperation with the Slovenian Chemical Society is organizing a popular science lecture entitled “The issues of microplastics in the environment”, which will be delivered by Dr Gabriela Kalčíková from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana.

The lecture will be held on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m, in a hybrid format, namely in the Prešeren Hall of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), Novi trg 4, 1000 Ljubljana and via Zoom. The number of participants is limited.Please register for the lecture by 6 p.m. on March 21, 2024. When registering, choose the type of participation (live or online). All registered online participants will receive a Zoom link via email before the event.


Plastic is an extraordinary material that has penetrated almost all aspects of modern life. The downside of this versatile material’s success is the creation of huge amounts of plastic waste, which often ends up in the environment. In recent years, research interest in environmental pollution with plastic has also extended to smaller plastic particles, called microplastics. Microplastics have already been found all over the world, in water, on land, in the air, in organisms and even in human food and drinking water. Microplastics enter the environment from various sources, the most important one being the fragmentation of discarded plastic which lands in the aquatic ecosystem. A large amount of microplastics also ends up in the environment as a result of the abrasion of plastic coatings and the use of car tires or with waste water. In the environment, microplastics interact with various other pollutants, increasing the threat they pose to organisms. In addition to endagering organisms, microplastics also have a negative impact on water quality and change the properties of sediments, thus increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental pollution with microplastics is a serious issue with no easy solutions. The most effective approaches to reducing microplastic pollution are the prevention of its formation and transport, achieved through efficient waste management and responsible plastic use.


Dr Gabriela Kalčíková is an associate professor at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana. She is an environmental engineer and focuses on issues related to environmental pollution through plastic waste, especially microplastics. She leads a group of researchers studying microplastic pollution, namely using advanced approaches of microplastic characterization, (eco)toxicity testing, evaluation of changes in microplastics in the environment (ageing) and the development of methods for removing microplastics from the environment. She is currently leading three national projects in the field of microplastics and two international projects. She has published many peer-reviewed scientific articles in international journals and collaborates with a variety of institutions abroad (e.g. the University of Kaiserslautern-Landau in Germany, CEITEC and RECETOX in the Czech Republic, TU Wien in Austria or Korea University in South Korea). She collaborated with the SAPEA organization in the preparation of a report on microplastics for the European Commission and with UNEP in the preparation of a report on projects in the field of plastics/microplastics.


The Slovenian Chemical Society is an organization of experts in the field of chemistry, chemical technology and chemical engineering in Slovenia. One of the main purposes of the society is to promote the progress of chemistry, chemical technology and chemical engineering in the broadest sense.

ASEF connects scientists and academics all over the world.

The program is co-financed by the Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad and the World and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth.

ASEF Speaker Series Event