Plastic as a Persistent Marine Pollutant


Worm, Boris, H.K. Lotze, I. Jubinville, C. Wilcox, and J. Jambeck

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Worm, Boris, H.K. Lotze, I. Jubinville, C. Wilcox, and J. Jambeck. “Plastic as a Persistent Marine Pollutant.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42, no. 1 (2017): 1-26.


The authors contend that mismanaged plastic waste is similar to other persistent pollutants, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which once threatened a “silent spring” on land. Such a scenario seems now possible in the ocean, where plastic cannot be easily removed, accumulates in organisms and sediments, and persists much longer than on land. New evidence indicates a complex toxicology of plastic micro- and nanoparticles on marine life, and transfer up the food chain, including to people. The authors detail solutions to the current crisis of accumulating plastic pollution, suggesting a Global Convention on Plastic Pollution that incentivizes collaboration between governments, producers, scientists, and citizens.

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