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Plastic Pollution in Soils: Governance Approaches to Foster Soil Health and Closed Nutrient Cycles

1
Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy, 04229 Leipzig, Germany
2
Faculty of Law, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, and Interdisciplinary Faculty, Rostock University, 18051 Rostock, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2020, 7(5), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050038
Received: 20 April 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
Plastic pollution in soils pose a major threat to soil health and soil fertility that are directly linked to food security and human health. In contrast to marine plastic pollution, this ubiquitous problem is thus far scientifically poorly understood and policy approaches that tackle plastic pollution in soils comprehensively do not exist. In this article, we apply a qualitative governance analysis to assess the effectiveness of existing policy instruments to avoid harmful plastic pollution in (agricultural) soils against the background of international environmental agreements. In particular, environmental and fertiliser legislation relevant to soil protection in the European Union and in Germany are assessed. Regulatory weaknesses and gaps of the respective legislation are identified, and proposals for enhanced command-and-control provisions developed. However, the legal analysis furthermore shows that plastic pollution ecologically is also a problem of quantity, which is difficult to solve exclusively through command-and-control legislation. Instead, comprehensive quantity-control instruments to phase out fossil fuels (worldwide and in all sectors) as required by climate protection law can be effective approaches to tackle plastic pollution in environmental media like agricultural soils as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: plastic governance; microplastics; plastic pollution in soils; agriculture; fossil fuels; environmental law; agricultural law; economic instruments; soil health; nutrient cycles plastic governance; microplastics; plastic pollution in soils; agriculture; fossil fuels; environmental law; agricultural law; economic instruments; soil health; nutrient cycles
MDPI and ACS Style

Stubenrauch, J.; Ekardt, F. Plastic Pollution in Soils: Governance Approaches to Foster Soil Health and Closed Nutrient Cycles. Environments 2020, 7, 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050038

AMA Style

Stubenrauch J, Ekardt F. Plastic Pollution in Soils: Governance Approaches to Foster Soil Health and Closed Nutrient Cycles. Environments. 2020; 7(5):38. https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050038

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stubenrauch, Jessica; Ekardt, Felix. 2020. "Plastic Pollution in Soils: Governance Approaches to Foster Soil Health and Closed Nutrient Cycles" Environments 7, no. 5: 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050038

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