Plastic Pollution and Marine Conservation - Chapter 1: Marine plastics: what’s wrong with them?

Elsevier, Plastic Pollution and Marine Conservation: Approaches to Protect Biodiversity and Marine Life, Volume 1, 1 January 2022
Bonanno G.

Plastics are materials composed of polymers, defined as repeating chains of molecules that can be easily processed and shaped. Common plastics are obtained from fossil fuels, such as crude oil and natural gas, and are nowadays the main materials of most consumer goods. The many uses of plastics prompted an ever-increasing production that is now abundantly beyond 300 million tons per year. This massive production made plastics ubiquitous in the environment, especially in marine ecosystems that act as the final sink for most land-based plastic litter. Marine plastic pollution is made even worse by microplastics, whose harmful impact affects the geochemistry, biology, and ecology of all oceans and seas. The effects of marine plastic litter are recognized as a global issue, and important signals to fight this phenomenon come from the main stakeholders such as scientific community with intense research, policy-makers with measures to support a circular plastics economy, the third sector trying to improve their green image, as well as ordinary citizens more and more aware of the sea conditions.