Marine Plastic Pollution as a Planetary Boundary Threat – The drifting Piece in the Sustainability Puzzle

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Jan 10, 2018 | ScienceDirect, Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, Sarah Cornell, Joan Fabres

The exponential increase in the use of plastic in modern society and the inadequate management of the resulting waste have led to its accumulation in the marine environment, causing effects across successive levels of biological organization. In this article for ScienceDirect, Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, Sarah Cornell and Joan Fabres examine whether the concentration of plastic in the ocean, today or in the future, will reach levels above a critical threshold leading to global effects in vital Earth-system processes. They warn that the irreversibility and global ubiquity of marine plastic pollution mean that two essential conditions for a planetary boundary threat are already met, and that this will impact on ecological communities and ecosystem functions.


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