Mismanaged plastic waste: Far side of the moon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Plastic is one of the most efficient materials and was designed to be strong, light, resistant to degradation and highly moldable both chemically and physically. Due to these advantageous properties, plastics are used in all walks of life. We are currently living in the ‘Plastic Age’ where the presence of plastic is ubiquitous. However, effective methods and technologies to deal with end-of-life plastic products have not been developed and applied. The net result is the generation of an ever-growing amount of plastic waste. Part of this waste can escape the waste management system and enter the environment, accidentally or otherwise. Once in the environment, mismanaged plastic wastes will degrade fragment into smaller and smaller pieces, and pose a notable threat to the health of our environment, in particular to the biota. At present, plastic debris has been found in numerous marine organisms, including those intended for human consumption. Because direct human health risks associated with mismanaged plastic waste have yet to be established, statutory controls on the use plastics in general, will be difficult and at best, piecemeal. Nonetheless, mitigation measures of this pervasive issue should progress from an end-of-pipe approach to preventive strategies, with a final goal to eliminate all single-use plastic products. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental sustainability and education for waste management: Implications for policy and practice
EditorsWinnie Wing Mui SO, Cheuk Fai CHOW, John Chi Kin LEE
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages57-71
ISBN (Electronic)9789811391736
ISBN (Print)9789811391729
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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plastic waste
Moon
plastic
health risk
waste management
biota
pipe

Citation

Fok, L., Cheng, I. N. Y., & Yeung, Y. Y. (2019). Mismanaged plastic waste: Far side of the moon. In W. W. M. So, C. F. Chow, & J. C. K. Lee (Eds.), Environmental sustainability and education for waste management: Implications for policy and practice (pp. 57-71). Singapore: Springer.

Keywords

  • Marine debris
  • Microplastics
  • Waste management
  • Education
  • Preventive strategies