Emerging Contaminants in the Environment - Chapter 11: Plastic pollution in marine and freshwater environments: Abundance, sources, and mitigation

Elsevier, Emerging Contaminants in the Environment: Challenges and Sustainable Practices, Volume 1, 1 January 2022
Mihai F.-C., Gundogdu S., Khan F.R., Olivelli A., Markley L.A., Van Emmerik T.

Macro- and microplastics are critical emerging pollutants found in marine and freshwater environments around the world. Plastic consumption supported by a linear economy combined with exportation of plastic packaging materials to countries with deficient solid waste management practices causes massive plastic pollution in low and middle-income countries. This chapter examines the causes, distribution, and impacts of macroplastic and microplastic pollutants, each with particular characteristics in marine and freshwater environments in different parts of the world. The geographical dimension of plastic pollution is revealed and the impacts on natural habitats and human settlements are highlighted. This chapter provides an overview of environmental plastic abundance, sources and mitigation strategies. The circular economy is further presented as a key mitigation strategy in the prevention of plastics materials in the environment, improvement of the production sector, and providing better waste management practices to reduce this global environmental threat.