A lot has been written about plastic pollution in the ocean.
But, there might be less data available on the extent of plastic pollution on dry land.
In the guide below, we discuss what plastic pollution on land is, the causes and sources, the effects and impact, along with potential solutions.
Summary – Plastic Pollution On Land
What Is Plastic Pollution On Land?
It is plastic pollution of dry land (soil and sediment), fresh water sources (like lakes and rivers), and other sources on land that impact humans and wildlife (such as drinking water like tap water and bottled water, food supplies, and so on)
It’s in comparison to plastic pollution of the ocean and marine areas
Plastic Pollution On Land vs Plastic Pollution In The Ocean
Not as much is known about plastic pollution on land as plastic pollution in the ocean
But, the extent of plastic pollution on land is estimated to be much greater than ocean plastic pollution, and the impact may be the same or greater too
Major Forms Of Plastic Pollution On Land
The two major forms of plastic pollution on land might be the pollution of macroplastics, and, the pollution of microplastics
As we mentioned in our guide on plastic pollution in the ocean, microplastic pollution can include microfibres as a type of microplastic
Microbeads are another example of a type of microplastic
Microfibers can come form sources like synthetic fibre clothing when they are washed, and, microbeads can come from cosmetic care products
Both can be washed out with wastewater and run off into the environment
How Plastic Pollution On Land Happens
Macroplastics are generally littered, or, they are inadequately disposed of (they might leak from dumping sites or from uncontained landfills for example)
In both instances, plastic ends up in the environment
Microplastics can break off from plastic products (like clothes made from synthetic fibres), or, macroplastics break down into microplastics when they become waste in landfills or in the environment
Sources Of Microplastics, & How Microplastics Pollute On Land
There’s a whole range of sources that can release micro plastics, and there’s a number of ways microplastics can be spread to different parts of society or the environment
We list those sources and ways in the guide below
Causes Of Plastic Pollution On Land
Mismanaged plastic is how macroplastics get into the environment i.e. via littering, and via inadequately disposed of plastic
Microplastics are polluted by either breaking off from plastic products, or, by breaking down from plastic waste
Sources Of Plastic Pollution On Land
There are several sources of plastic pollution, and particularly microplastics
One source is microfibres being released from synthetic fibre clothing when they are washed
Another is microbeads being released from cosmetic products
Another is plastic pellets used at waste water treatment plants
We list more in the guide below
How Microplastics Are Carried & Transported Across Different Parts Of Society
Microplastics end up in a range of locations across society, such as soil, sediment, freshwater lakes and rivers, tap water and bottled water.
Microplastics can be spread via water run off, rivers, air, fertilisers, and other ways.
Impact & Effect Of Plastic Pollution On Land
Plastic pollution on land can impact humans, the environment and wild life
As just one example, both humans and wildlife can ingest and inhale micro plastics and nano plastics
We list other potential effects of plastic pollution on land in the guide below
More Research Might Be Required For Plastic Pollution On Land
Multiple reports indicate that we need more research and data on the extent and impact/effects of plastic pollution on land, and also on microplastics
Some aspects of plastic pollution on land don’t have any definitive or reliable conclusions available
There can be challenges to studying plastic pollution on land though, such as research being time consuming
Solutions To Plastic Pollution On Land
Solutions to plastic pollution on land may try to address the specific causes and sources of macro plastic and microplastic pollution
We go through each of these specific solutions in the guide below
Microbial & Faecal Contamination Might Be Far Bigger Threats To Drinking Water Than Microplastics
What is worth noting is that some reports indicate that microbial contamination of drinking water is a more serious threat to public health than microplastics are in some regions.
As a priority, this might be addressed in regions where it’s a problem.
It’s possible water can be filtered for both pathogens and harmful microbes, as well as microplastics.
So, filtering of water that can treat the water for both these things might be a worthwhile goal to pursue
… microbially-contaminated drinking-water and faecally-contaminated water [with] microbial pathogens still represent “the most significant public health threat in drinking-water”.
Although wastewater effluent is recognized as a key source of microplastic pollution in freshwater, pathogens and other chemicals associated with the lack of effective sewage treatment are of greater concern
By addressing the bigger problem of exposure to faecally-contaminated water [and infectious diseases and other microbes in drinking water], communities can simultaneously address the smaller concern related to microplastics
[This might be done by filtering water for both]
What Is Plastic Pollution On Land?
Plastic pollution on land is sometimes referred to as terrestrial plastic pollution
It is plastic pollution that happens on land, as opposed to marine areas like the ocean.
Soil, sediments and freshwater sources can all be polluted by plastic on land.
Land Plastic Pollution vs Ocean Plastic Pollution
Several reports indicate that far less is known about plastic pollution on land and it’s impact, compared to ocean plastic pollution.
Some reports indicate though that the extent of plastic pollution on land is much greater than ocean plastic pollution, and the impact may be the same, or even greater.
[Microplastic and nanoplastic pollution on dry land] may have damaging [long term] effects similar or even more problematic than in our oceans.
… terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution — an estimate of four to 23 times more, depending on the environment
What Share Of Plastic Waste Ends Up In Soil & Freshwater?
About one third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or freshwater
Read more about what happens to the rest of plastic waste in this guide.
It is estimated that one third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or freshwaters [where most of it] breaks down into microplastic smaller than five millimetres, and nanoplastic less than 0.1 micrometre in size (sciencedaily.com)
Causes Of Plastic Pollution On Land – How Does It Happen?
Generally, macroplastic pollution happens via:
2. Plastic escaping or leaking from landfill sites, dumping sites, or from bins
Generally, microplastic pollution happens via:
1. Microplastics breaking off from products and items the people use, and getting into the environment via a range of different ways, such as being discharged or running off in waste water just as one example. Some microplastics are even manufactured for primary uses as microplastics.
2. Macroplastics that become waste breaking down into microplastics
Sources Of Plastic Pollution On Land (Where It Comes From)
Sources Of Microplastics
Some of the sources of micro plastics that become pollution include but aren’t limited to:
– Clothing and Textiles That Contain Synthetic Fibres
Like polyester fibre clothing for example.
When they are washed in a washing machine, they can release microfibres which get into waste water, and can either run off into fresh water sources and soil, or can be discharged directly onto them.
[Studies on microfibers released during textile washing revealed that] 250 thousand fibers can be released within a single wash (earthday.org)
[Plastic fibres and flakes enter the environment from from clothing and textiles] (wwtonline.co.uk)
Minuscule fibres of acrylic, nylon, spandex, and polyester are shed each time we wash our clothes and are carried off to wastewater treatment plants or discharged to the open environment …
[One study estimates] more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibres could be released into the environment during each cycle of a washing machine.
[Another study] found that washing a single synthetic jacket just once released an average of 1.7 grams of microfibres.
– Cosmetic & Personal Care Products
Microbeads are another type of microplastic – the same way that microfibres are a type of microplastic.
Microbeads are microscopic plastics contained in cosmetic and personal care products that are included for exfoliating and other uses.
Microbeads are washed from these products into waste water, and can be discharged into the environment, or run-off.
Microbeads are sometimes called ‘wash-off plastics’
[It’s been found that microbeads of plastic come from] cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads (unenvironment.org)
– Plastic Packaging
[Plastic fibres and flakes enter the environment from plastic packaging] (wwtonline.co.uk)
– Other Items Flushed Down The Toilet & Washed Down Sinks
Some other products and items that are flushed in toilets or washed down sinks contain plastics.
… plastic objects [can] make it into the main sewer system … by being flushed down the toilet, or carried by the rain into a street drain (whoi.edu)
[Plastic fibres and flakes enter the environment from] Plastic-based items being flushed down the toilet – such as wet wipes and plastic-stemmed cotton buds and sanitary products (wwtonline.co.uk)
– Industrial Discharge
[Plastic fibres and flakes enter the environment from] … industrial discharges to sewers (wwtonline.co.uk)
– Car Tyres
Microplastics can break off from car tyres, and rain can wash these plastics from roads and highways onto soil and into fresh water sources.
[Plastic fibres and flakes enter the environment from] … tyre fragments and road paint from roads when there is surface water run-off to combined sewers (wwtonline.co.uk)
– Road Markings & Plastic Pellets & Additives In Asphalt
Same as car tyres – microplastics from these sources can wash into soil and fresh water sources.
– Plastic Pellets At Waste Water Plants, & Waste Water Treatment Plants In General
These pellets can contribute to plastics waste water flows that are discharged into the environment.
… UK wastewater treatment plants use tiny plastic pellets, known as Bio-Beads [that end up in the environment because there’s a problems filtering these pellets] (theguardian.com)
[Some studies of micro plastic concentrations in rivers] upstream and downstream of wastewater treatment plants [in rivers]… [found that] Fragments and fibres made up nearly 90 per cent of the microplastic found in the river samples.
[Plastic pellets and beads can also be an issue]
[Even where wastewater treatment plants filter their water, plastic can still find it’s way back into the water supply]
… storm events and heavy rainfall, which wash microplastics into reservoirs, temporarily bypassing wastewater treatment [can increase the concentration of micro plastics]
Rates also tend to be higher downstream of effluent discharge, and in areas near densely populated urban centres
– Plastic In Sewage Sludge
[Plastic fibres also enter the environment] via sewage sludge – unless the sludge is incinerated] (guppyfriend.com)
– Plastic In Sewer Overflows
[Sewer overflows also contribute to plastic pollution … [they] relieve the sewage system in rainy conditions. In order to prevent backwater in households in case of heavy rain, the wastewater flows through the sewers untreated … [so] wastewater from the gullies does not take the detour via a wastewater treatment plant, but gets into our water widely unfiltered] (guppyfriend.com)
– Artificial Turf
Can be made with plastic and synthetic fibres that break off and enter the environment.
– The Solves Of Shoes & Footwear
Microplastics can break off, and be washed off into soil and other places
– Agricultural Plastics
Plastics can be used for a range of things such as mulching, irrigation, weed barriers, and more
– The Lids & Caps Of Bottled Water
Plastic bottles and caps that are used in bottled water may also be sources of microplastics in drinking water (euronews.com)
– More About The Above Sources …
… plastic particles are being flushed into our waterways every day – microbeads from toothpaste, fibres from clothes, specks from shoes and cars tyres, even plastic from wastewater treatment plants
[Microplastics also come from road surface run off, fibres released from textiles, shoe soles and artificial turf, agricultural plastics used for mulching, cosmetics, consumer products flushed down toilets and sinks, nurdles, degraded fishing nets and other fishing equipment, water treatment plant components and pipes, the bottles and caps of bottled water]
Microplastics enter drinking-water sources from surface run-off after rainfall, wastewater effluent, industrial effluent, litter and wind (euronews.com)
… clothing fibres, tyre debris in stormwater, and microbeads in cleaning products were contaminating wastewater (abc.net.au)
[Microplastics] enter water supplies and sources upstream of wastewater plants via the sources mentioned above in the wwtonline.co.uk dot points – washing textiles, flushing plastic fibre items, discharge to sewers, road surface water run off and so on] (wwtonline.co.uk)
How Microplastics Get Into Soil, Water & Other Parts Of Society
Microplastics can be transported and carried around in different ways, including but not limited to:
– Water Run Off
Rain and storm water can hit different surfaces such as roofs, paths, roads etc. and wash microplastics on these surfaces off into soil, freshwater sources, etc.
– Drains & Outlets
Waste water, storm water, and other types of drains and outlets can carry plastics that have been washed off from certain surfaces, or that have come from homes and buildings, and carry them to treatment facilities or discharge points
Rivers carry plastics that get in them from a range of sources.
From wwtonline.co.uk: … every year … about 4 million tonnes plastic passes along rivers [and] In some cases, there can be over half a million plastic fragments per square metre of river bed.
Microplastic fibres can get into the air via a range of sources and can be carried in the air elsewhere.
– Sewage Sludge, Biosolids & Organic Waste Used For Fertiliser
From sciencedaily.com, sciencedirect.com, and unenvironment.org:
[Sewage sludge is turned into fertiliser and applied to agricultural fields]
[About] 80 to 90 per cent of the particles contained in sewage persist in the sludge [and the end results is that] several thousand tons of microplastics end up in our soils each year …
Plastic garment fibres can be found in sewage sludge [along with other fibres]
… microplastics are added to European and North American farmlands each year
[Australia produces] dry biosolids containing microplastics and 75 per cent of it was used in agriculture
… plastics find their way into agricultural soils through recycled wastewater and rubbish
[Another major source is] organic fertiliser made from treated and dewatered sewage, known as biosolids … [and] Food scraps recycled from our mixed waste bins for compost and plastic products used directly by farmers, such as plastic mulch
Impact/Effects Of Plastic Pollution On Land On Humans, The Environment & Wildlife
We’ve already listed some of the potentially harmful effects of plastic pollution in general in this guide.
Some of the effects listed in that guide apply to plastic pollution on land specifically.
Some of the effects of plastic pollution on land on humans, the environment and wildlife might include:
– Plastic might carry disease-causing organisms and act as a vector that transmits diseases in the environment
– Microplastics could be a stress factor for the environment
– Chlorinated plastic could release chemicals
– Plastic in landfill without adequate leachate management or liners could contribute to soil and water pollution
… the surfaces of tiny fragments of plastic may carry disease-causing organisms and act as a vector that transmits diseases in the environment
The intake and uptake of small microplastics could turn out to be the new long-term stress factor for the environment
Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil, which can then seep into groundwater or other surrounding water sources, and also the ecosystem (unenvironment.org)
… plastics that break down in landfills without adequate liners and leachate management, may contaminate soil with their leachate.
Contaminated soil can lead to contaminated sediment, and contaminated fresh water sources too
– Microplastics can get into drinking water i.e. mainly tap water, and also bottled water
– Humans can ingest and breathe in microplastics in the food supply, or in the air
– Plastics can leach BPA and phthalates, which may contribute to health issues in humans
– The true impact of plastics and microplastics on humans and human health may be inconclusive or not fully known at this stage
From unenvironment.org: …[synthetic plastic fibres from washing clothing can get into tap water]
Microplastics can even be found in tap water (unenvironment.org)
Humans also ingest microplastics via food: they have already been detected not only in fish and seafood, but also in salt, sugar and beer
… tiny fragments of plastic can be accumulated in yeasts and filamentous fungi
… the average person … ingests around 2,000 microplastic particles a week
[Humans ingest microplastics from food and water, and from plastic utensils, and from breathing]
Measuring water for plastic concentration:
[Water can be measured for plastic pollution by measuring plastic particles per litre]
[Microplastic concentrations vary between rivers and lakes worldwide]
[Recorded concentrations in bottled water can be far higher than lakes and rivers]
… microplastics larger than 150 micrometres are not likely to be absorbed in the human body and the uptake of smaller particles “is expected to be limited.”
… levels of particles found in drinking water varied so widely between the different studies that no conclusions could be drawn
Recent studies into water contamination have found microplastics in 83% of tap water samples from major cities around the world and in 93% of samples from the world’s top 11 bottled water brands.
… our drinking water supply is heavily contaminated with microplastics.
Wildlife & Living Organisms
– Broken down plastic may release chemicals that have a negative effect on wild organisms and living things
– Existing additives and chemicals in plastic can leach out and have a toxic effect on wild organisms and living things
– Microplastics may have a negative effect on wild organisms and living things
– Chlorinated plastic can contaminate water sources for wild organisms and living things
… earlier studies have demonstrated that microplastics might be harmful to ecosystems when ingested by aquatic key organisms … [and it is thought that there could be a similar impact on land based organisms]
Microplastics can also interact with soil fauna, affecting their health and soil functions … [like for example the] earthworm’s fitness and the soil condition.
Generally speaking, when plastic particles break down, they gain new physical and chemical properties, increasing the risk that they will have a toxic effect on organisms. And the more likely it is that toxic effects will occur, the larger the number of potentially affected species and ecological functions.
Chemical effects are especially problematic at the decomposition stage … [where] additives such as phthalates and Bisphenol A leach out of plastic particles. These additives are known for their hormonal effects and can potentially disrupt the hormone system not only of vertebrates, but also of several invertebrates
… nano-sized [plastic] particles may cause inflammation; they may traverse or change cellular barriers, and even cross highly selective membranes such as the blood-brain barrier or the placenta. Within the cell, they can trigger changes in gene expression and biochemical reactions, among other things.
The long-term effects of these changes have not yet been sufficiently explored. However, it has already been shown that when passing the blood-brain barrier nanoplastics have a behaviour-changing effect in fish.
– sciencedaily.com, and unenvironment.org
Recent studies suggest that plastic waste is impacting the growth and reproductive success rates of the animals in our natural world [and] this is due to chemicals released from decomposing plastic creating a disruption in hormones …
… it’s believed that wildlife that has been subjected to a mix of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are failing to reproduce, yet the impact of this hasn’t been fully discovered.
EDC’s … can also be passed from mother to newborn through their milk supply, as it accumulates within the fat glands where the milk is produced.
Plastic waste is also causing issues for birds, who are using strands of plastic mistaken for leaves and branches to build their nests, as an alternative to natural materials
… birds are mistaking plastic waste for food and feeding it to their chicks, to detrimental effect. Inside the stomachs of many deceased seabirds in the UK, scientists found scraps, plastic bottles, bags and packaging …
[Wildlife species’ that drink from freshwater sources contaminated by chlorinated plastic for example may experience harmful effects] (unenvironment.org)
[Some research indicates that] 50 per cent of freshwater insects tested in South Wales has microplastic inside of them (wwtonline.co.uk)
Some General Consequences Of Plastic Pollution
When plastic pollutes the environment, some of the things that can happen can include:
– Chemicals, Additives & Fillers Leaching From Plastic
This can be from plastic littered or leaked into the environment.
It’s also possible that landfills with inadequate liners or leachate management systems in high income and developed countries may contribute to plastic pollution, as these plastics may breakdown and contaminate the soil beneath them
[EDCs – endocrine disrupting chemicals – are] thought to be leaked into the environment through the breakdown of plastics in landfills (mytomra.com.au)
– Chlorinated Plastics Leaching Into The Environment
[Chlorinated plastic is another source of harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment] (unenvironment.org)
– Plastic Carrying Persistent Organic Pollutants
Plastics when polluted in the environment can absorb and carry around persistent organic pollutants like pesticides that stick to it’s surface, and end up polluting new environments they come into.
More Research May Be Required For Plastic Pollution On Land, & The Potential Effects
Plastic Pollution On Land In General
Is appears there is far less research that has been done, and far less certainty about the full effects of plastic pollution on dry land compared to plastic pollution in the ocean
Going forward, the degradation behavior of plastic, the effects of microplastics, and the impact of plastic pollution on land might require better and more standardized assessment methods if we want a more accurate picture of plastic pollution on dry land, and potential short and long term impacts for humans, wildlife and the environment.
The are a range of challenges in studying and researching dry land plastic pollution though, one of which is that is can be very time consuming (which is perhaps one of the reasons we don’t currently have more data and research available on it)
There may be limited information available on microplastics, and inadequate assessment methods to assess their impact on humans and society.
… [right now] there is a lack of standardized methods for determining microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems in order to produce an accurate assessment [of their impact on these ecosystems and the environment] (sciencedaily.com)
The impact of microplastics and nano plastics in the human body right now has limited information available, but, it’s believed the health risk to humans is low or no risk at current levels, according to most sources (euronews.com)
[Right now, it is considered there is insufficient information to make firm conclusions on what plastics do to the human body … but, right now, it’s thought plastics are inert when ingested and pass through our bodies without uptake]
[There appears to be] no reliable information at this time that would suggest any overt health concerns associated with microplastic particles … and there low concern for human health
… [it is also not known] what effect microplastics are having on our agricultural ecosystems
Potential Solutions To Plastic Pollution On Land
We’ve already put together a guide outlining some general solutions to plastic problems.
Some of these general solutions might be applied to land based plastic pollution problems.
But, some of the specific solutions to plastic pollution on land might be directly related to the causes and sources of plastic pollution on land.
Some of the specific solutions might include but aren’t limited to:
– Consider more data and research in the areas of plastic pollution on land where there might be uncertainty
As mentioned in the guide above, there are questions or inconclusiveness about the extent of plastic pollution on land, and the various impacts of microplastics and other types of plastic pollution.
More data and research, as well as better assessment methods could help in this instance
– Filter drinking water for both microbial and pathogen based contamination, and microplastics
Doing both of these things would address two issues at the same time
In developed countries where drinking water contaminated with pathogens isn’t an issue, filtering drinking water for microplastic would be a potential priority
– Prevent plastic from getting into drinking water, remove plastic from drinking water, and reduce plastic consumption and contamination
In particular, reducing plastic contamination upstream from tap water treatment plants may be a priority.
At home filtering equipment and purification devices may be other solutions.
From the perspective of improving the quality of our drinking water, we need to focus on three things: prevention – limiting the amount of plastic that reaches any body of water; innovation – finding new ways to remove plastic that is already in our waterways and water supply; and activism – making citizens part of the solution by building a culture in which people actively think about and participate in reducing plastic consumption and contamination.
– Address micro plastics in bottled water
In addition to plastic in tap water, plastics in bottled water needs to be addressed.
Considering that it might come from plastic bottles and plastic caps, people may use bottles made of other materials, or drink only from cups and glasses instead.
– Address plastics in the food supply
Some animals and foods humans consume may come into contact with microplastics
The impact of humans consuming these animals and these foods might be studied more closely, in addition to considering what foods humans can eat that aren’t contaminated with microplastics
It might also be considered how humans can inhale and ingest less microplastics from non water and non food sources
– Address plastic in sewage sludge and wastewater, as well as at treatment plants
We listed the sources of microplastics, and plastic beads and pellets that contribute to plastic pollution in sewage sludge and waste water.
Reducing plastic from these sources would be the priority here.
Proper filtration, capture and management technology to deal with micro and nano plastics at treatment and waste processing plants may also help
… install and optimise wastewater treatment and other processes that remove microplastics from water sources (abc.net.au)
– Address micro plastic pollution from washing of synthetic plastic fibre clothing
Consider less clothes and textiles with less synthetic fibres.
And, consider using fibre catcher bags when washing clothes in washing machine.
Better filtering and waste water management from washing machines could also help.
– Address micro beads and ‘plastic wash off’ from cosmetics and personal care products
Avoid products with microbeads and other ‘wash off’ plastics in them
More natural and organic personal care and cosmetic products can help
– Address plastic from road run off, and from human footwear
Consider how plastic additives can be removed or substituted from roads, road markings, car tyres, and the soles of human shoes.
If this is unrealistic, consider how storm water and waste water run off drains can better capture and filter plastic out of water and waste streams
Could be a hard one to address, unless the run off water is properly filtered and plastic fibres and micro plastics are disposed of in the right way.
– Have more awareness around flushing plastic items down toilets in households
Ear cleaners, wet wipes, personal hygiene items, and so on
– Consider how agricultural plastics can be substituted for alternate materials
– Consider that the use of bio solids and sewage sludge for fertilizer on agricultural land might be contributing to microplastics in soil on agricultural land, and sediments elsewhere
Are there alternate fertilizers that can be used instead, or can bio solids and ex sewage sludge fertilizer be filtered and purified in a better way to remove plastic particles?
Also, consider how recycled wastewater and rubbish contributes to micro plastic in agricultural soils, and plastic products used by farmers themselves.
– Reduce mismanaged plastic pollution
Would involve reducing the rate of littering, and plastic pollution from landfill sites and dumping sites
With littering, specifically focussing on reducing the littering of plastic packaging type plastic waste (which are some of the most commonly found/littered items on cleanups).
– Clean up littered and polluted plastic
On land, in rivers, and in other locations
If plastic continues to be littered, land and beach volunteer and council cleanups can help.
– Plastic in landfills
Aside from ensuring that landfills are secure and closed off (to prevent the leaking of plastic waste), landfills should have effective soil liners to prevent soil contamination, and should have a proper leachate management system to handle any leachate (especially from potentially problem plastics like high chlorine PVC).
– Incinerated plastic
Plastic that is being burnt in a waste for energy plant should have the proper air filter and air contaminant devices fitted (to deal with carbon, and air contaminants like dioxins and other air pollutants).
There should also be proper waste management services in place to deal with the waste by products caught in filtering systems.
– Address micro plastic in the air
Comes from many sources – would need to address each source individually.
Plastic fibres in the air indoors in households is thought to come partially from synthetic textiles and clothing, and plastic furniture.
Using natural fibre textiles and alternative furniture like wood furniture may be one part of the solution to this specific example.
– Break down of plastic into micro and nano plastics
There’s really no way to solve the presence of micro-plastics and nano plastics, unless the use of plastic is reduced.
But, micro plastics and nano plastics are found everywhere on land – in soil, sediments, the air, rivers, lakes, drinking water, and more
– Other general solutions
There is no one solution to the problem [of plastic pollution on land], but … we need to innovate and implement new solutions to help us manage our plastic waste more efficiently.
TOMRA Collection Solutions [has implemented solutions like] reverse vending machines, deposit return schemes, and Clean Loop Recycling
By investing in better recycling technology rather than outsourcing waste, the recycling industry will see higher purity levels, meaning less material in landfills and less environmental pollution.
The more material kept in a closed loop the less that ends up where it doesn’t belong, in our oceans, streets and landfills.
Deposit return schemes and Clean Loop Recycling provide one part of the solution to changing attitudes around empty drink containers and improving recycling rates
Drinking Water Contaminated With Pathogens Might Be A Bigger Health Threat Than Drinking Water With Microplastics In It
Some reports indicate that some methods of filtering water that ensure microbes and hazardous bacteria aren’t in the water may have the additional benefits of removing micro-plastics.
This form of filtering for drinking water may be a key solution for humans.
… microbial pathogens still represent “the most significant public health threat in drinking-water” [in the world] (euronews.com)
1. Forschungsverbund Berlin. “An underestimated threat: Land-based pollution with microplastics.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180205125728.htm>