Understanding plastic degradation and microplastic formation in the environment : A review

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Amir Hossein Hamidian
  • Aleksandra Tubić
  • Yu Zhang
  • James K.H. Fang
  • Chenxi Wu
  • Paul K.S. Lam

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number116554
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Pollution
Volume274
Online published23 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Abstract

Plastic waste are introduced into the environment inevitably and their exposure in the environment causes deterioration in mechanical and physicochemical properties and leads to the formation of plastic fragments, which are considered as microplastics when their size is < 5 mm. In recent years, microplastic pollution has been reported in all kinds of environments worldwide and is considered a potential threat to the health of ecosystems and humans. However, knowledge on the environmental degradation of plastics and the formation of microplastics is still limited. In this review, potential hotspots for the accumulation of plastic waste were identified, major mechanisms and characterization methods of plastic degradation were summarized, and studies on the environmental degradation of plastics were evaluated. Future research works should further identify the key environmental parameters and properties of plastics affecting the degradation in order to predict the fate of plastics in different environments and facilitate the development of technologies for reducing plastic pollution. Formation and degradation of microplastics, including nanoplastics, should receive more research attention to assess their fate and ecological risks in the environment more comprehensively.

Research Area(s)

  • Characterization, Degradation mechanisms, Fate, Hotspots, Plastics

Citation Format(s)

Understanding plastic degradation and microplastic formation in the environment : A review. / Zhang, Kai; Hamidian, Amir Hossein; Tubić, Aleksandra; Zhang, Yu; Fang, James K.H.; Wu, Chenxi; Lam, Paul K.S.

In: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 274, 116554, 01.04.2021.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review