The global threat from plastic pollution

Plastic pollution accumulating in an area of the environment is considered “poorly reversible” if natural mineralization processes occurring there are slow and engineered remediation solutions are improbable.

Should negative outcomes in these areas arise as a consequence of plastic pollution, they will be practically irreversible. Potential impacts from poorly reversible plastic pollution include changes to carbon and nutrient cycles; habitat changes within soils, sediments, and aquatic ecosystems; co-occurring biological impacts on endangered or keystone species; ecotoxicity; and related societal impacts. The rational response to the global threat posed by accumulating and poorly reversible plastic pollution is to rapidly reduce plastic emissions through reductions in consumption of virgin plastic materials, along with internationally coordinated strategies for waste management.

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