Research ArticlePLASTICS

Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made

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Science Advances  19 Jul 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700782

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  • Regulating plastic bags: A mountain to climb
    • Zhitong Yao, Hangzhou Dianzi University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Tamara S. Galloway, University of Exeter
      • David K. A. Barnes, Natural Environment Research Council

    In the Research Article “Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made” (19 July, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782), Geyer et al. reported on the end-of-life fate of plastics and revealed that near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste is a growing global concern. High concentrations of plastic debris in the open ocean have adverse effects on marine ecosystems and biodiversity (1, 2). In light of this environmental concern, it is urgent to declare war on plastics and strictly regulate the single-use plastic bags.
    The UN has declared a "War on Plastic" and the G20 has released a "Marine Litter Action Plan". It is anticipated that the marine debris issue will be addressed at the forthcoming UNEA 3 and reflected in UN resolutions. Plastic bags are among the top ten items found during coastal clean-ups across the world. They were sighted at sea by marine debris observers on board RRS James Clark Ross only 10 degrees from the north pole this year and in the new proposed giant Marine protected Area around Ascension Island, in the remote mid-Atlantic Ocean. There has been a massive worldwide effort to educate people to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic but the scale of the problem is at epidemic level. More than 40 countries and municipalities have now banned or taxed their use. This has had an immediate and strong impact, for exampl...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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