REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.1979.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: plastic pollution; microplastic; nano plastic; marine pollution; river pollution
Online: 31 October 2023 (09:35:44 CET)
Plastic poses a significant threat to the environment, polluting land, water, and air. It is a broad term encompassing a variety of polymers. In the form of microplastics and nanoplastics, it can induce toxicity in water bodies. Plastic debris not only physically pollutes freshwater, but also chemically, undergoing changes over time due to hydroclimatic effects. Rivers serve as conduits, transporting plastics from minor tributaries to major rivers and ultimately into the ocean, endangering marine life. India, as a developing country with the largest population and numerous rivers, generates a significant amount of plastic waste, a substantial portion of which finds its way into rivers, leading to alarming rates of plastic accumulation in the ocean. Previously, policymakers focused primarily on landfills for plastic waste, neglecting the pollution of water bodies. The consequences of this neglect are evident, with major rivers in the country severely affected by plastic waste, necessitating advanced, efficient, and sustainable solutions. This study aims to establish a comprehensive framework for managing plastic waste, understanding its transport mechanisms to the ocean, and recognizing the threats it poses to life. It also expounds on harmful plastic pollutants in water, globally adopted technologies, and emphasizes the need for further research and data collection in this field. The primary concluding point is to prevent plastics from entering waterways and to actively collect river and marine plastic pollution. Banning single-use plastics and implementing efficient collection methods are crucial in containing plastic pollution. Effluents from industries should not be overlooked, as they often contain harmful micro and nanoplastics with ecotoxicological effects. The innovative concept of the "4Rs" - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - stands as the cornerstone for safeguarding the environment against plastic pollution.