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Plastics : From a Success Story to an Environmental Problem and a Global Challenge

Title data

Dris, Rachid ; Agarwal, Seema ; Laforsch, Christian:
Plastics : From a Success Story to an Environmental Problem and a Global Challenge.
In: Global Challenges. Vol. 4 (3 June 2020) Issue 6 . - No. 2000026.
ISSN 2056-6646
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.202000026

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
SFB 1357 MikroplastikSFB1357

Abstract in another language

The 20th century witnessed the success of plastic materials. In just a few decades, these materials derived from petroleum chemistry became essential in our everyday life. A myriad of new products imposed themselves in countless daily applications and transformed our daily lifestyle profoundly. Several technical and medical innovations were made possible due to the versatile and adaptable material properties of plastics. To name only a few of these advantages, plastics are light yet stable, corrosion‐resistant, and have excellent insulating properties. Since the 1950s, the global production of plastics increased from 1.5 million tonnes to 359 million tonnes in 2018, growing by a factor of more than 200. This success story came quickly with a significant downside, as plastic debris started to cause widespread pollution of the planet. In addition to the immediate anaesthetic issues and the threat they represent for the biota, plastics can fragment into smaller particles, so‐called microplastics (<5mm), or even degrade further into nanoplastics. The occurrence of microplastics in marine systems was reported as early as 1972 and became a topic of interest for scientists in 2004. Since then, as exponentially as plastic production increased, concerns about this pollution grew. The scientific community plays a central role in tackling this global challenge, as it is an urgent matter to close the considerable gaps in knowledge that are becoming increasingly apparent. While the reports available to date are sufficient to establish the ubiquity of plastic debris, the questions appear more numerous than the answers as to the distribution, fate, and impacts of plastics in natural environments. This special issue features several papers presenting and discussing these global challenges.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: Editorial (Non-reviewed Article)
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry II
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 07:05
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2020 07:05
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/55771