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Plastic pollution , accumulation in the environment of synthetic plastic products to the point where they create problems for wildlife and their habitats as well as for human populations. In the invention of Bakelite brought about a revolution in materials by introducing truly synthetic plastic resins into world commerce. By the end of the 20th century, however, plastics had been found to be persistent polluters of many environmental niches , from Mount Everest to the bottom of the sea. Whether being mistaken for food by animals , flooding low-lying areas by clogging drainage systems, or simply causing significant aesthetic blight , plastics have attracted increasing attention as a large-scale pollutant. Plastic is a polymeric material —that is, a material whose molecules are very large, often resembling long chains made up of a seemingly endless series of interconnected links.
J Toxicol Risk Assess Since to , about 6. Human population increase and consistent demand for plastics and plastic products are responsible for continuous increase in the production of plastics, generation of plastic waste and its accompanied environmental pollution.
We have reviewed in this paper, the most relevant literatures on the different types of plastics in production, the hazardous chemical constituents, prevailing disposal methods and the detrimental effects of these constituents to air, water, soil, organisms and human health viz-a-viz the different disposal methods. Papers that reported environmental and public health effects of plastic constituents but not plastics directly were also reviewed.
Varieties of plastics used in the production of many consumable products including medical devices, food packaging and water bottles contain toxic chemicals like phthalates, heavy metals, bisphenol A. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic is yearly released into the ocean, leading to degradation of marine habitat which eventually affects aquatic organisms.
Long term usage and exposure of plastics and plastic products to high temperature can lead to leaching of toxic chemical constituents into food, drinks and water. Indiscriminate disposal of plastics on land and open air burning can lead to the release of toxic chemicals into the air causing public health hazards. This paper also presents recommendations for global prevention and control of plastic wastes.
Plastic waste, Environmental contamination, Pollution, Public health, Toxic chemicals. Plastics are made up of synthetic organic polymers which are widely used in different applications ranging from water bottles, clothing, food packaging, medical supplies, electronic goods, construction materials, etc [ 1 ]. In the last six decades, plastics became an indispensable and versatile product with a wide range of properties, chemical composition and applications.
Although, plastic was initially assumed to be harmless and inert, however, many years of plastic disposal into the environment has led to diverse associated problems. Environmental pollution by plastic wastes is now recognized widely to be a major environmental burden [ 2 , 3 ], especially in the aquatic environment where there is prolong biophysical breakdown of plastics [ 4 , 5 ], detrimental negative effects on wildlife [ 6 , 7 ], and limited plastic removal options [ 5 , 7 , 8 ].
In many instances, sheeting and packaging plastics are disposed of after usage, however, because of their durability, such plastics are located everywhere and persistent in the environment. Research on the monitoring and impacts of plastic wastes is still at the infancy stage, but thus far, the reports are worrisome.
In human occupational and residential environment, plastics made of petrol-based polymer are present in high quantity. At the end-of-life of these plastics, they are usually land-filled together with municipal solid waste. Plastics have several toxic constituents among which are phthalates, poly-fluorinated chemicals, bisphenol A BPA , brominated flame retardants and antimony trioxide which can leach out to have adverse effects on environmental and public health.
Plastics in electronic waste e-waste have become a serious global environmental and public health concern due to its large production volume and the presence of inadequate management policies in several countries. Reports from China, Nigeria, and India indicated that plastic hazardous substances from e-wastes can migrate beyond the processing sites and into the environment [ 9 - 11 ].
In modern life, plastics are ubiquitous. Its early usage dated back to B. Diverse usage and manufacturing of plastics and plastic products began in when polystyrene PS and vulcanized rubber were discovered [ 13 ]. Production of bakelite which is the first truly synthetic polymer was in in Belgium [ 14 ], however, by , bakelite was everywhere, especially in fashion, communication and electrical and automotive industries [ 15 ].
It took a decade after this for mass production of plastics to begin and it has constantly expanded ever since. As at , the annual plastic production was estimated to be million tons globally [ 16 ].
In terms of production, the rest regions are of lesser importance although not necessarily in terms of plastic consumption [ 15 ]. Globally, plastic production was estimated to be million tonnes in Since to , plastics of about 6. Plastics of about 5 million tonnes are yearly consumed in UK alone, with only about one-quarter recycled, and the rest landfilled.
It has been suggested by researchers that by , oceans might contain more plastics than fish in terms of weight [ 19 ]. Yearly, approximately billion plastic bags are used out of which an estimated 13 million tonnes ends up in the ocean, killing approximately , marine lives [ 18 ].
Plastic productions has increased in twenty-fold since Globally, approximately million tonnes of plastics were produced in , expected to double in about 20 year time and possibly quadruple by [ 20 ]. There are different types of plastics based on their constituents and type of materials used in their production. Table 1 shows the different types of plastics, their properties and common uses [ 21 ]. Table 1: Types of plastics, their properties and common uses.
View Table 1. Polyethylene terephthalate PET is a type of plastic which is smooth, transparent and relatively thin. It is also called stomach plastics. PET is commonly used during disposable salad dressing, juice, mouthwash, vegetable oil, cosmetics, soft drinks, margarine and water bottles production, because it is anti-inflammatory and fully liquid.
PET is also anti-air, preventing entrance of oxygen into it [ 1 ]. Antimony trioxide, an inorganic compound, is used as a catalyst for the production of PET and rubber vulcanization [ 18 ]. Plastics made from PET must be prevented from high temperatures so as to prevent the leaching of some toxic additives such as acetaldehyde, antimony and phthalates. Antimony is a possible human carcinogen [ 1 ]. Generally, PET is manufactured for single use only [ 1 ]. Worldwide, the most used plastic is polyethylene.
High-density polyethylene is a heat-resistant plastic produced from petroleum. It is a major constituent of refrigerators, detergent bottles, toys, milk containers, varieties of plastic grocery bags, etc. No phthalates or BPA is present in high-density polyethylene. High-density polyethylene container is generally considered safe for drink and food because it has no reported health risk even though some studies showed that a long time exposure of the plastics to sunlight can make it harmful [ 1 ].
Polyvinyl Chloride PVC , a type of heat-resistant polymer, is used for packaging fruit juice, cooking oil, etc. PVC is considered highly toxic due to the presence of chemical constituents like heavy metals, dioxins, BPA and phthalates.
Depending on non-plasticization, PVC is flexible due to the presence of phthalates. Phthalates are harmful to humans. The entire PVC life cycle which include the production, usage and disposal are capable of causing severe environmental and public health risks, hence, its usage has considerably reduced.
However, due to cost-effectiveness and versatility, PVC remains very popular in the production of consumer goods. PVC have been reported to cause chronic bronchitis, birth defects, genetic changes, cancer, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, ulcers, liver dysfunction and indigestion [ 1 ].
Low-density polyethylene is heat resistant, fragile, flexible and rigid. It is commonly used in packaging of milk, frozen foods and juices. Because the plastic does not have any component that is harmful to human body, its usage is termed safe for beverages and food [ 1 ].
Polypropylene, a type of plastics, is strong and semi-transparent. It is heavier and stronger than polyethylene. It is used for packaging medicine, yogurt, ketchup, beverage, etc.
Plastics made of polypropylene have no harmful substances and like polyethylene, polypropylene containers are considered safe for humans as packages for food and beverages [ 1 ]. Polystyrene, a type of petroleum-based plastic, contains benzene which is carcinogenic to humans [ 1 ]. Polystyrene is commonly used in the production of insulators and packaging materials. Products from styrene are hazardous to health. Report of Dowty, et al. Polycarbonates are used for packaging consumer goods such as reusable bottles.
It contains BPA. Due to exposure to high temperature, BPA can be leached from polycarbonated container into the drink or food stored in them. Because BPA's health risk has been reported in several studies, the usage of polycarbonated plastics have greatly decreased [ 1 ].
Size of plastics can be used for their classification, aside the plastic types and their chemical composition. There are two major classification of plastics at sea: 1 Macro these are plastics higher 20 mm in diameter and; 2 Micro plastics which are less than 5 mm in diameter plastics.
Of these two plastic sizes, the microplastics are the major pollutants documented for deteriorating the ecosystem. This microplastics are either produced by design and are called primary microplastics, or they are formed as a result of degradation of macroplastic called secondary microplastics [ 23 , 24 ]. The major issues in plastic waste centered around the microplastics due to an increase difficulty in their monitoring and a greater effect at the physical and chemical levels on environmental and public health, because of their higher volume-to-surface area ratio [ 25 ].
Inadequate waste management and indiscriminate dumping are the major routes of entry of microplastics into the marine environment [ 26 ]. Direct production of microplastics such as plastic pellets is common, as such are used in fabricating larger items as raw material, however, microplastics can also be produced through mechanical disintegration of larger plastics or plastic products.
This is the case in the breakdown of plastic ropes to finer filaments such as microfibers. Environmental release of large quantities of microplastics is in form of cosmetic products and cleaning ingredients such as toothpaste and microbeads in face-wash. Because of the health effects of microplastics, countries like Canada, USA and others are now phasing out their usage in certain personal care products.
Reports of recent research suggest that the detrimental effects of microplastics especially microbeads, micro plastic fibres and degraded macroplastics in aquatic environment might be higher than that of macroplastics [ 27 - 29 ], although studies and legislations to manage plastic pollution are still inadequate.
Even though landfilling is the commonest waste management conventional approach in many countries, however, scarcity of space for landfills is becoming a major problem. For example, historically, landfilling was attractive in the UK because it is relatively cheap and simple without necessarily requiring treatment, cleaning or separation. There is a growing environmental and public health concern about the potential effects of landfills because of the types and quantities of toxic chemicals and their potential for leaching at landfill sites [ 32 ].
It is now a government policy in the UK to reduce the amount of wastes landfilled e. Environmental pollution and risks to public health can be reduced if the landfills are well-managed, although there are possibilities of soil and groundwater contamination by disintegrated plastic byproducts and additives that can persist in the environment on long-term basis [ 34 , 35 ]. An alternative to landfilling of plastic waste is incineration, but growing concerns exist about the potential atmospheric release of hazardous chemicals during the process.
For instance, plastic waste fumes release halogenated additives and polyvinyl chloride, while furans, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs are released from incineration of plastics into the environment [ 36 ]. The disadvantage of combustion of plastics is the air pollution caused by the noxious fumes released into the atmospheres.
The combustion heater of the flue systems is permanently damaged by plastics during plastic incineration and the products of this plastic combustion are detrimental to both humans and the environment. Compounds of low molecular weight can vaporize directly into the air thereby polluting the air and based on their varieties, some may form a combustible mixture, while others may oxidize in solid form.
Incineration of plastics is usually accompanied with the formation of chark, and the coking extent is dependent on the conditions of incineration [ 37 ].
Gaseous release in the process of plastic and plastic composite products incineration are very dangerous. For example, Table 2 shows the compounds release during the incineration of PVC and the health effects of these compounds.
In our full entry on Plastic Pollution we provide an in-depth overview of global plastic production, distribution, management, and impacts through data visualisations and explainers. There you should find most of the data and context needed to understand the problem of global plastics. How much plastic and waste do we produce? How much oil do we use to make plastic? Which sectors use the most plastic? Where does the plastic in the ocean come from?
Plastic has become an important and integral part of society throughout the world due to its various applications, such as packaging, agriculture, automobile parts, electronic applications and medical devices. The plastic fabrication process can be modified to form various shapes, colors and specifications according to customer needs. Consequently, the amount of plastic waste is increasing due to the increase in plastic consumption because of the increasing population. Moreover, the problem of marine plastic debris is on the rise globally, including in Thailand, which results from the irresponsibility of mankind. Generally, plastic waste in Thailand can be generated from industrial processes and households. These two waste sources have caused the rise in plastic waste, which has contributed to the problem of waste management in Thailand.
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Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles e. Plastic pollution can afflict land, waterways and oceans. It is estimated that 1. Effects on humans include disruption of various hormonal mechanisms. As of , about million tonnes of plastic is produced worldwide each year.
Одна из проблем, связанных с приемом на работу самых лучших специалистов, коммандер, состоит в том, что иной раз они оказываются умнее. - Молодой человек, - вскипел Стратмор, - я не знаю, откуда вы черпаете свою информацию, но вы переступили все допустимые границы. Вы сейчас же отпустите мисс Флетчер, или я вызову службу безопасности и засажу вас в тюрьму до конца ваших дней. - Вы этого не сделаете, - как ни в чем не бывало сказал Хейл. - Вызов агентов безопасности разрушит все ваши планы.
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