Solutions and Integrated Strategies for the Control and Mitigation of Plastic and Microplastic Pollution
Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Mer Molécules Sante (MMS), Université Catholique de l’Ouest, 3 place André Leroy, BP10808, 49008 Angers CEDEX 01, France
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132411
Received: 3 June 2019 / Revised: 2 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 7 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Pollution)
Plastic pollution is generated by the unsustainable use and disposal of plastic products in modern society, threatening economies, ecosystems, and human health. Current clean-up strategies have attempted to mitigate the negative effects of plastic pollution but are unable to compete with increasing quantities of plastic entering the environment. Thus, reducing inputs of plastic to the environment must be prioritized through a global multidisciplinary approach. Mismanaged waste is a major land-based source of plastic pollution that can be reduced through improvements in the life-cycle of plastics, especially in production, consumption, and disposal, through an Integrated Waste Management System. In this review paper, we discuss current practices to improve life cycle and waste management of plastics that can be implemented to reduce health and environmental impacts of plastics and reduce plastics pollution. Ten recommendations for stakeholders to reduce plastic pollution include (1) regulation of production and consumption; (2) eco-design; (3) increasing the demand for recycled plastics; (4) reducing the use of plastics; (5) use of renewable energy for recycling; (6) extended producer responsibility over waste; (7) improvements in waste collection systems; (8) prioritization of recycling; (9) use of bio-based and biodegradable plastics; and (10) improvement in recyclability of e-waste.