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Toxic Pollutants from Plastic Waste- A Review



Incineration of plastic waste in an open field is a major source of air pollution. Most of the times, the Municipal Solid Waste containing about 12% of plastics is burnt, releasing toxic gases like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls into the atmosphere. Further, burning of Poly Vinyl Chloride liberates hazardous halogens and pollutes air, the impact of which is climate change. The toxic substances thus released are posing a threat to vegetation, human and animal health and environment as a whole. Polystyrene is harmful to Central Nervous System. The hazardous brominated compounds act as carcinogens and mutagens. Dioxins settle on the crops and in our waterways where they eventually enter into our food and hence the body system. These Dioxins are the lethal persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and its worst component, 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), commonly known as agentorange is a toxic compound which causes cancer and neurological damage, disrupts reproductive thyroid and respiratory systems. Thus, burning of plastic wastes increase the risk of heart disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches, and damages the nervous system. Hence, a sustainable step towards tomorrow's cleaner and healthier environment needs immediate attention of the environmentalists and scientists. This review presents the hazards of incineration; open burning of plastics and effects of plastic in water and also a possibility of working out strategies to develop alternate procedures of plastic waste management.
Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 708
1878-0296 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of 5IconSWM 2015
doi: 10.1016/j.proenv.2016.07.069
Available online at
International Conference on Solid Waste Management, 5IconSWM 2015
Toxic Pollutants from Plastic Waste- A Review
Rinku Verma*, K. S. Vinoda, M. Papireddy, A.N.S Gowda*
College of Sericulture, Chintamani, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India
Incineration of plastic waste in an open field is a major source of air pollution. Most of the times, the Municipal Solid Waste
containing about 12% of plastics is burnt, releasing toxic gases like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls into
the atmosphere. Further, burning of Poly Vinyl Chloride liberates hazardous halogens and pollutes air, the impact of which is
climate change. The toxic substances thus released are posing a threat to vegetation, human and animal health and environment
as a whole. Polystyrene is harmful to Central Nervous System. The hazardous brominated compounds act as carcinogens and
mutagens. Dioxins settle on the crops and in our waterways where they eventually enter into our food and hence the body system.
These Dioxins are the lethal persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and its worst component, 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
(TCDD), commonly known as agentorange is a toxic compound which causes cancer and neurological damage, disrupts
reproductive thyroid and respiratory systems. Thus, burning of plastic wastes increase the risk of heart disease, aggravates
respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches, and damages the nervous system.
Hence, a sustainable step towards tomorrow’s cleaner and healthier environment needs immediate attention of the
environmentalists and scientists. This review presents the hazards of incineration; open burning of plastics and effects of plastic
in water and also a possibility of working out strategies to develop alternate procedures of plastic waste management.
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of 5IconSWM 2015.
Keywords: Plastic, Toxicology, Pollutant, Health, Pyrolysis;
Plastic is made up of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic substances that are soft and can be
molded into solid objects of diverse shapes. Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass and they
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address:
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of 5IconSWM 2015
702 Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals and many
are partially natural (LCPP 2011).
Plastic make up an estimated 10% of household waste, most of which is disposed in landfill (Barnes, 2009;
Hopewell et al., 2009) However, 60—80 % of the waste found on beaches, floating on ocean or sealed is plastic
(Derraik 2002, Barnes, 2005). 2.3 billion pieces were recovered from Southern California beach over 72 hours,
which weighed 30,500 kg. The majority being foams such as polystyrene (71%) followed by miscellaneous
fragments (14%) pre-production pellets 10% and whole items 1%. 81% of all plastics were between 1 and
As per the estimate by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the plastic consumption in India, is 8 million
tons per annum and about 5.7 million tons of plastic is converted into waste annually (Rathi, 2006).The increase in
production and consumption of plastic materials results in a constant plastic waste increase (UNEP, 2009). As a
consequence in 2007, more than 250 million tons of plastic waste was produced (Jovanovic et al. 2009). Plastic
materials are predominantly not biodegradable and having a low density makes them unfit for disposal in landfills
(Aguado et al., 2007). Norway and Switzerland produced about 24.9 megatonnes of plastic waste (Mudgal et al.,
2011). In 2009, around 230 million tonnes of plastic were produced and about 25% of these plastics were used in the
European Union (EU) (Mudgal et al., 2011). This global figure has been increasing by an average rate of 9% since
1950 to a peak of 245 million tonnes in 2008. Polybags and other plastics items except PET in particular have been a
focus, because it has contributed to host of problems in India such as choked sewers, animal death and clogged soils
(PESD 2007)
Future application for plastic increases and its use continues to grow in developing and emerging economies
(Global Industry Analysts, 2011). Without appropriate waste management, increased plastic waste, will add to the
back log of plastic waste already in existence. There is no agreed figure on the time that plastic takes to degrade but
it could be hundreds or thousands of years (Kershaw et al., 2011).
As per the EU studies, suggested, increased use and production of plastic in developing and emerging countries
is a particular concern, as the sophistication of their waste management infrastructure may not be developed at an
appropriate rate to deal with the increasing levels of plastic waste. Increase in temperature and environmental
conditions may affect the degradation of plastic into secondary microplastics or the release of chemicals contained
or transported on plastic waste. Secondary microplastics are those formed from breakdown of larger plastic
materials (Arthur et al., 2009).
Plastic waste is a global problem, but with regional variability. One source of air pollution is burning of plastic
waste in the open field and warming up of the surrounding air. This is also true for plastic waste in the marine
environment in terms of water pollution and liberation of chemicals contained.
The property of plastic makes it so valuable and also its disposal becomes problematic, such as its durability,
light weight and low cost. Most of the time, plastic is thrown away after usage; hence being durable they persist in
the environment. Plastic has become ubiquitous and India is no exception. Most of the times, the Municipal Solid
Waste (MSW) containing about 10-12% of plastic is burnt, releasing toxic gases into the environment which include
substances like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls. Only few studies on the impact of such
toxic gases have been performed in India. Landfills have contributed to nearly 20% of Green House Gases (GHG)
followed by fossil fuels. Currently, landfills are overloaded with waste dumps and wastes being burnt along with
plastic bags are posing health risks. An immediate measure to address them is the need.
Plastic waste has the ability to attract contaminants, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This is so in
the marine environment since many of these contaminants are hydrophobic, plastic could potentially act as a sink for
contaminants, making them less available to wildlife, particularly if they are buried on the seafloor.
Biomass accumulation on the plastic or biofouling is likely to increase the density of plastic. Plastic contains
chemicals or additives to give it certain properties. There is a wide range of additives, but probably the most relevant
Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
to ecology and human health are Bisphenol A, Phthalates and Brominated Flame Retardants. Bisphenol A and
Phthalates are rapidly metabolized once ingested but their concentration within the tissues varies between species
for the same exposure.
Conditions within landfill may cause the chemicals contained within plastic to become more readily available to
the environment a major concern in developing countries. Just as plastic waste moves on the surface of the sea and
from the sea to the coast, it can also move vertically. Biofouling with micro-organisms, plants or algae onto plastic
debris causes it to become heavier and eventually sink. Sample of plastic debris in the western North Atlantic Ocean
and plastic in the sea had a different specific gravity to plastic debris found at the beach, suggesting that plastic
undergoes changes when it is at sea. The presence of plastic in sea on the surface or below may help in identifying
potential hazards for either surface feeding or seafloor feeding wildlife. Establishing the size, mass and composition
of plastics that persist in the ocean is important for understanding the impact of plastics (Moret-Ferguson et al.,
2010). Polyethylene was the most common type found in sea and the study suggested further research is needed to
determine if lighter plastics, such as polyethylene, are more readily transported by winds and currents than heavier
plastics such as Poly vinyl chloride (PVC) which tends to sink and so is subject to different patterns of
transportation than plastic on the surface.
Thermal utilization and dumping in landfills: Current disposal methods -Disposal of waste into landfills implies
an irreversible loss of valuable raw materials and energy. The incomplete combustion of Polyethylene (PE),
Polypropylene (PP) and Polystyrene (PS) during thermal utilization can cause high concentrations of carbon
monoxide (CO) and noxious emissions, while PVC generates dioxins, carbon black and aromatics like pyrene and
chrysene. Hazardous emissions can include bromide and color pigments that contain heavy metals like chromium,
copper, cobalt, selenium, lead and cadmium. Open burning of MSW and landfill fires to emit 10,000 grams of
dioxins/furans into Mumbai’s lower atmosphere every year (NEERI 2010).The waste plastic finds its way into
drains, open lands, rivers, railway tracks and coasts (MOEF 2011). Despite waste management efforts to manage
wastes, more than 91% of MSW collected is still landfilled or dumped on open lands (DEA, MOF 2009).
Effect of primary and secondary sources of micro plastics to the environment is to be addressed urgently.
(Arthur et al., 2009). More investigation needs to go into what level of exposure is caused by plastic waste and
chemicals from plastic which may have an impact on humans and animals has to be worked out. Those at the top
level of the food chain would be exposed to greater levels of chemicals.
Objective of the study include: Effect of plastic waste and its pollutants on health and Toxic pollutants found in
plastic waste.
Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy, can detect particle less than 1.6 µm. Macroplastic can be further
categorized according to type of object, for example, bottle, bag, lid etc., The bio concentration factor is the
concentration of a chemical within the tissue of the species compared with its concentration in the surrounding
environment. If badly managed, recycling processes can cause the release of chemicals from plastics into the
environment and subsequent impact on human health. There has been some concern about heavy metals such as CD,
in plastic especially in children toys, plastic crates and pellets.
Use of plastic in mobile phones indicates its plastic components contain several toxic substances
(Nnorom&Osibanjo, 2009). If such quantities increase and open burning practiced in developing countries, there is
potential for environmental pollution and human health impact.
More land –based research on plastic waste and research on chemicals in landfills, particularly measuring level
of additives leached into environment is needed (Oehlmann et al., 2009).
Plastic waste has several impacts on the health of ecosystems and humans. Although there is little research on
the specific impacts of plastic waste on land-based wildlife, there is concern that incorrectly managed landfills could
704 Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
lead to either the escape of plastic waste or the escape of landfill leachates containing the chemicals associated with
plastic. Recycling of plastic particularly in developing countries can cause the release of chemicals into the
environment for example the burning of plastic coated wired to extract metal. Effects associated with chemicals that
are part of plastic or transported by plastic may also be sub-lethal. Plastic ingestion could increase the buoyancy of
fish making it difficult for mesopelagic fish to return to deeper waters (Boerger et al., 2010).
The impact of chemicals on humans and ecosystems is either due to its presence in plastic or plastic waste on
transportation. Plastic is not inert, but contains several chemicals with toxic potential and it also has the potential to
transport contaminants. The threat posed by hazardous brominated compounds act as carcinogens and mutagens
requiring immediate attention. Dioxins are the lethal POPs and its worst component, 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-
dioxin (TCDD), commonly known as agent orange is a toxic compound which causes cancer and neurological
damage, disrupts reproductive, thyroid and respiratory systems. Burning of plastic waste increases the risk of heart
disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches, and
damages the nervous system. These vapors can damage eyes and mucous membranes. Additives used as heat
stabilizers, frequently contain heavy metals such as barium, lead and cadmium, sometimes in combinations. Lead
and cadmium are the most serious environmental pollutants and have effect on human health depending on their
concentration. When present at or above specific concentrations, they interfere with processes in plant and animal
tissues, and in the soil. PVC contains chlorine which can be released during burning as hydrochloric acid (HCl).
High concentrations of these affect the human respiratory system. Pure PVC contains 58% chlorine when
plasticizers are added; it contains about 49% chlorine.
Burning of plastic bags releases chemicals into the air, causing serious lung damage and other long-term health
problems. People with lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, single exposure to
this smoke can worsen their disease.
Results and Discussion
Negative impacts: The usage of certain plastics also poses health risk. Further, burning of PVC liberate
halogens which may pollute the air. For instance any plastic burnt in open will produce dioxins or toxic substances.
Many of the impacts of plastic waste are sub-lethal, but in conjunction with other impacts from plastic waste or
environmental effects such as oil spills or harsh weather conditions, they could become lethal.
Polystyrene is harmful to Central Nervous System. Burning of plastic leads to severe health risks such as heart
diseases, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches,
damages in the nervous system kidney or liver, in the reproductive and development system. Dioxins settle on crops
and in our waterways where they eventually enter into our food, get into our body (WECF, 2004).
The by-products of plastic combustion are airborne particulate emission (soot) and solid residue ash (black
carbonaceous colour). Several studies have demonstrated that soot and solid residue ash possess a high potential of
causing health and environmental concerns, especially Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi- VOCs, smoke
(particulate matter), particulate bound heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s), polychlorinated
dibenzofurans (PCDF’s) and dioxins (Valavanidid et al 2008). This can travel thousands of kilometres, depending
on prevailing atmospheric conditions and enter our food chain. Significant amount of pollutants of environmental
and health concern including carcinogens such as PAH’s, nitro-PAH’s and dioxins have been identified in the
airborne particulate emission. These particulates are highly mutagenic (Lee et al., 1995). PAHs in the range of 8-340
ppm have been observed in the soot which is significant enough to cause cancer (Valavanidid et al 2008).
High concentration of persistent free radicals (unstable and highly reactive) both in the soot and the solid
residual ash are considered to be very important in the creation of adverse health effects especially to human lungs
(Simoneit et al., 2005). Combustion of PE (both low LDPE and high density HDPE) at different operating
conditions detected VOCs and semi VOCs especially olefins, paraffin, aldehydes and light hydrocarbons
(Valavanidid et al., 2008). Benzene amongst VOC’s is known carcinogen and released during plastic combustion.
Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is one of the compounds among the plasticizers used in plastic
manufacturing that has been descried by USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) as a probable
human carcinogen, a potential endocrine disruptor and is believed to be harmful by inhalation, generating possible
health risks and irreversible effects released during combustion of plastics. During extrusion process several
substances such as additives, may be released from PVC, vinyl chloride and HCl. Incineration must be complete i.e.
combustion, burning plastic within the waste may release considerable quantities of polluting substance (Brian
2012). One way of dealing with waste is to incinerate it fully. With complete combustion almost 90% of plastic
material is reduced to carbonic acid, CO2 and water, but PVC is an exception to this rule, since the chlorine it
contains produces HCl when burned.
Incomplete combustion of PE, PP and PS and PVC can cause further problems as CO and smoke may be
produced. As a result of incomplete combustion of PVC, dioxins and other hazardous substances may be formed.
These serious difficulties can be overcome by keeping the moulding period very short and by adding a heat
Bisphenol A – There has been ongoing debate about the use of Bisphenol A in Europe, and the EU has now
banned the placing on the market and importing of polycarbonate baby bottles containing Bisphenol A. Although
this ban will affect the type of new plastic waste entering the environment it will not affect debris already in the
Phthalates – The use of some phthalates has been restricted in the EU for use in children’s toys since 1999, Di
(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Benzyl Butyl Phthalate (BBP) and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) are restricted for all
toys; Diisononyl phthalate (DINP), Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) are restricted only
in toys that can be taken into the mouth. The restriction states that the amount of phthalates may not be greater than
0.1 percent mass per cent of the plasticized part of the toy. There are no other specific restrictions in the EU, about
Flame retardants – In 2008 the EU banned several types of Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs when it was
discovered that they were accumulating in breast milk. This is of particular concern as is their release through the
burning of electronic and electric waste when it is dismantled / recycled in uncontrolled environment.
The most concerning issue is the impact of chemicals associated with plastic waste. There are several chemicals
within plastic material itself that have been added to give it certain properties such as Bisphenol A, phthalates and
flame retardants. These have negative effects on human and animal health, mainly affecting endocrine the endocrine
systems. Toxic monomers have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
Case studies: European Economic Area (EEA) review (Herczeg et al., 2009) of the Directive in five EU
countries and one sub national areas (Estonia, Germany, Finland, the Flemish Region of Belgium, Hungary and
Italy), indicates that there has been drop in the amount of waste going to landfill from 1999 – 2006.
Separate data from a Plastic Europe report indicate that despite a 3% annual growth in the past decade for post-
consumer plastic waste in EU15, landfill, amounts have increased by only 1.1% per year, this is due to increase in
recycling and energy recovery.
Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljøorganisasjon (KIMO), Sweden has assessed the abundance of microscopic
plastic particles that are less than 4.5mm in Swedish west coast water (Noren, 2007). A considerably higher amount
of microplastic particles was found using an 80µm mesh, compared to using a 450µm mesh, to concentrate the water
samples. Up to 100,000 times higher concentrations, (150- 2400 per m3), of small plastic debris were retained on an
80µm mesh with the higher concentration (102,000 per m3). Found locally in the harbour outside a polyethylene
production plant.
Over ten days of sampling, the research found on average 484 pieces of plastic that were deposited on the beach
daily. Polyethylene has the potential to degrade more readily than polypropylene, as it is more conducive to the
oxidation process. There is a possibility that additives may provide preferential site for continued degradation, as
indicated by the small patches of heavily oxidized areas in otherwise intact plastic pellets. PE and PP are inert
706 Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
materials (Mewis, 1983). Under the influence of light, heat or mechanical pressure they can decompose and release
hazardous substances. Styrene in Polystyrene and vinyl chloride in PVC are toxic. Pigments or colorants may
contain heavy metals that are toxic to humans such as chromium, copper, cobalt, selenium, lead and cadmium are
often used to produce brightly coloured plastics. Cadmium is used in red, yellow and orange pigments. Additives
used as heat stabilizers contain heavy metals like barium, tin, lead and cadmium (Vivek 2014).
Sea turtles can confuse plastic bags for jelly fish (Derraik 2002, Gregory, 2009).Recent research on plankton-
eating fish in the North Pacific Gyre (Boerger et al., 2010) has indicated that 35 per cent had ingested plastic,
averaging 2.1 pieces per fish. However, Davison & Asch (2011) found only 9.2 per cent of sampled mesopelagic
fish contained plastic in North Pacific.
Cat fish in an estuary in northeastern Brazil indicated that between 18 and 33% of individuals had plastic debris
in their stomach, depending on the species of cat fish (Possatto et al., 2011). Cat fish could be a good species for
monitoring plastic ingestion in rivers, as they are both predators and prey to large fish.
Synergic or interactive effect of plastic debris with other impacts such as bioaccumulation of mercury and
cadmium in Franciscanadolfins, alongside ingested plastic waste and entanglement in fishing nets (Denuncio et al.,
Work on beach clean –ups to ban on plastic waste disposal at sea, targets for proper and efficient waste
management and plastic recycling to useful products.
The Oslo Paris Convention for Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic pilot project
on monitoring marine beach litter in the North Sea was one of the first region wide projects in Europe to develop a
standard method to monitor marine litter found on beach (OSPAR, 2007).
Applying the polluter pays principle, in terms of littering and illegal dumping and disposal, applying the user
pays principle in terms of tourist taxes, car parking fees, port reception and ship berthing fees can go towards beach
cleaning and improving waste infrastructures. Tradable permits are not appropriate for littering.
Incentives to fishermen for reporting on and removing debris from sea with fishing for Plastic project (in the
save our North Sea programme), which pays fishermen to remove plastic should be considered.
Policy based on findings about chemicals within plastics has already been made, such as the ban on Bisphenol
A but for chemicals with less clear impact (especially if their effects are sub –lethal or sub-toxic but could still
accumulate other initiatives may need to be developed).
Plastic waste does require responses from several policy areas. Marine litter and plastic waste is a priority on
the EU policy agenda.
Banning of some harmful chemicals contained in plastic, such as Bisphenol A and some phthalates, has already
occurred, but for other restriction may have to be voluntary. A harmonized industry-wide effort is needed to
communicate information about chemicals used in plastic, alongside public education about the chemicals.
In India Landfills pose threat as plastic in MSW is burnt in most of these places as the waste is dumped together
contributing to GHG emission. This seriously draws attention.
The ill effects of Climate Change have already begun to be felt. Toxic substances are released via burning from
plastics, open combustion, incineration, posing a threat to the surrounding areas including vegetation and health of
individuals. Proper development of policy with respect to chemical exposure caused by plastic must be set in place
with encouraging research in this direction. A sustainable step towards tomorrow’s cleaner and healthier
Rinku Verma et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708
environment is the need of the hour. This would help the masses to be aware of the severity of the problem and go
for technologies which can pose less risk hazards on human health with reference to developing nations. Thus the
scientific community needs to think about the cumulative environmental exposures that may harm human health.
Instead of combustion and incineration, pyrolysis can be another alternative method which is known to produce less
toxic substances if conditions are appropriate with variable amounts of potentially useful by-products. Recycling is
better minimizing stress on the resources and utilizing the by-products, increasing sustainability. Introducing
recycling programs and study will considerably make a great change. Several pyrolysis systems have been initiated
and people realized that it is best option, but proper scientific data and design of unit and follow up studies are very
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... Likewise, vinyl chloride exposure through inhalation can affect various tissue and organs [12]. Polystyrene can cause pathology to the Central Nervous System (CNS), and respiratory system and can even cause cancer [16]. Even bisphenols were found to excrete in the urine of the workers of plastic injection molding factories in Malaysia [17]. ...
... Moreover, plastic resin pellet is a raw material that can cause environmental pollution [11]. Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) is also a threat to vegetation and human, animal, and environmental health [16,22]. Heavy metals were evidenced in the soil sampled around the plastic metal factories in China [23]. ...
Background: Approximately three thousand plastic goods manufacturing factories (PGMF) are currently operating in Bangladesh involving numerous workers. Associated health problems of these workers are largely unknown. The key objectives of the current study were identifying plastic chemical exposures related health outcomes in these workers and comparing these outcomes before and after their joining in PGMFs. In addition, we aimed to investigate the relationships between work duration and the prevalence of health ailments among workers. Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out among factory workers (n=405) at six PGMFs in Gazipur district in Bangladesh. A simple random sampling method had been applied to select participants and data on their self-reported exposures to chemicals and associated respiratory, neurological, and other multiple health outcomes were collected through a validated questionnaire survey. Data were analyzed using different descriptive and inferential statistical tools. The categorical variables and continuous variables were interpreted using frequency distribution and standard deviation (SD) respectively. A Pearson chi-square (χ2) test was applied to evaluate the correlation between work duration and health outcomes. A p-value <0.05 was considered significant statistically. Results: The average age and work duration of the workers were 25.63±6.85 and 3.49±3.53 years, respectively, implying that most workers were young, and spent over 10% of their lifetime in PGMFs work. Most common health outcomes reported by the workers were nasal discharges: 60 (14.9%), headaches: 76 (18.9%), fatigues: 112 (27.8%), losses of appetites: 108 (26.8%), urination problems: 61 (13.1%), losses of body weights: 102 (25.3%), and nervousness: 70 (17.4%). Among the common health outcomes only headache (p=0.005); fatigue (p=0.04); urination problem (p=<0.0001), and nervousness (p=0.004) were significantly associated with the work duration. Furthermore, except for hypertension and tarry stool, all health outcomes among workers differ significantly before and after joining in PGMFs. Conclusion: This study first time identified important health outcomes of the PGMFs workers and generated baseline information on common health outcomes of the PGMFs workers in developing countries like Bangladesh. However, it might be important to identify potential causes of such health outcomes in PGMFs workers considering both biomarkers of exposures and real-time environmental samples to understand the disease pathology and to recommend mitigation measures to be taken by occupational health policymakers and practitioners in developing countries.
... Natural fibres being regenerative, locally available and low in cost with smart properties became a choice of material for compounding with different polymers such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and many more [1][2][3]. Undoubtedly, the unmanaged dumping of the polymeric waste are causing environmental problems [4,5]; however, fossil fuel-based polymer can be replaced with biodegradable polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) [6,7], polybutylene succinic acid (PBS) [8], poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) [9,10], polycaprolactone (PCL) [11] and polyurethane (PU) [12] to solve the concerned issue. In addition to this natural fibres from plant and animal sources such as microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) [13][14][15], chitosan [16], hydroxyapatite [17], starch [18] and proteins [19,20] can also enhance the biodegradability of the composites. ...
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Structural, mechanical, thermal and surface properties comprising biodegradable aromatic–aliphatic polymer poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) and the wheat stalk-based nanocellulose (NCC) were studied. The materials were found to comprise the compatible and yet phase-segregated constituents which kept their identity in the nanocomposite materials. The NCC phase was found to be homogeneously dispersed in the PBAT matrix inside. Similar to the corresponding microcomposites, the investigated nanocomposites were found to be stable within their desired application temperature as packaging materials. The tensile properties of the nanocomposites degraded in terms of strain at break, tensile strength and tensile modulus. At higher filler content, the reinforcing effect dominated leading to an increase in indentation modulus and hardness, and a decrease in the work of elastic deformation. The wettability and the water absorption capacity of the materials increased with NCC content thereby enhancing the biodegradability of the composites.
... They offer consumers the opportunity to be used in many sectors (Oromiehie and Mamizadeh 2004) because of their advantages, such as being safe, light, strong, easily processed, stored, and economical. However, they turned out to be an important environmental waste because they increase the waste burden of landfills, cause toxic emissions during the incineration process, emit NO x and SO x emissions that cause acid rain, and produce CO 2 emissions that lead to global warming (Evode et al. 2021;Siddique et al. 2008;Verma et al. 2016). Another major problem that leads to considerable environmental concern is air pollution. ...
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Plastic waste and air pollution are becoming a great concern due to their adverse effect on human health and the environment. There is increasing number of evidence showing that recycling plastic and filtering harmful air pollutants are one of the most effective and promising way to eliminate their hazard on the environment. In this purpose, we developed eco-friendly filtration materials from recycled PET by electrospinning method to be used in air filtration and compared them with conventional PVA membranes. Filtration efficiency of prepared membranes were tested homemade membrane system using cigarette smoke source. Characterization results and smoke filtration performance of recycled PET and PVA membranes before and after smoke filtration were examined. The results demonstrated that the removal efficiencies of PVA-5 wt.%, PVA-10 wt.%, and PVA-15 wt.% were 4.11%, 11.32%, and 12.14%, respectively. A similar trend was also observed in recycled PET-5 wt.%, PET-10 wt.%, and PET-15 wt.% membranes with 4.32%, 10.79%, and 11.68% of filtration efficiency, respectively. Based on this result, using recycled PET can be an alternative way to produce a higher value product compared to traditional polymer membranes used commercially. This result is also supported by the neural network model of this study.
D’après la littérature scientifique, les plastiques présents en mer libèrent des micro et nano-plastiques ainsi des substances chimiques, potentiellement transférées ou bioaccumulées dans les organismes marins, ce qui constitue une source potentielle de préoccupation. Par ailleurs, l’aquaculture marine utilise de nombreux équipements en plastique, devant être recyclés en fin de vie (cf. Directive (UE) 2019/904). Dans ce contexte, tout nouvel équipement en plastique conçu pour l’aquaculture doit être éco-conçu et s’inscrire dans une économie circulaire. Le présent travail propose une méthodologie d’éco-conception, systémique et pilotée par l’usage, développée pour maîtriser l’innocuité, la durabilité et la recyclabilité des matériaux polymères utilisés en aquaculture, et comprenant 4 étapes : 1- une évaluation scientifique des risques liés à l’usage du matériau, 2- l’identification des points de contrôle de ces risques, 3- le développement d’actions préventives, 4- la définition de procédures de vérification de leur maîtrise, incluant la réalisation d’analyses biométriques et chimiques dans le cadre d’une expérimentation in situ.
In the more than 100 years since the invention of plastics, various plastic polymers have been developed that exhibit different characteristics and have been widely used in production and life. In 2020 alone, nearly 400 million tons of plastics were produced globally. However, while plastic such as polyethylene brings us convenience, it also threatens environmental sustainability and human health. Due to insufficient recycling efficiency, millions of tons of polyethylene pollutants accumulate in terrestrial or marine environments each year. Polyethylene is elastic, chemically stable, and non-biodegradable, and the traditional disposal methods include landfilling and incineration. These methods are costly, unsustainable, and further increase the burden on the environment. Therefore, recent research has increasingly focused on the biodegradation of polyethylene. In this work, we briefly summarized polyethylene's properties and environmental toxicity. We also reviewed the recent advances in the biodegradation of polyethylene with a summary of traditional abiotic methods. Finally, we proposed a brief research direction in polyethylene study with the aspect of environmental toxicology and industrial applications of decomposition technology.
Plastic packaging is a valuable part of the consumer economy, but it creates negative environmental externalities throughout its lifecycle. To reduce these effects, more circular flow is needed, which requires significant innovation. This paper asks w hat are the types of innovations that make plastic packaging more circular, and what is their level of adoption? Over 300 circular innovations are identified and categorized according to Reason's failure mode model, which suggests how failure can be prevented in a system. This results in six types of innovation that are critical to preventing failure (plastic leakage) or enabling circularity throughout the plastic packaging value chain. Circular innovations must address all these failure modes: packaging design choice, consumer behavior, material recovery, material treatment, and material reuse. The study also finds that adoption of circular plastic packaging innovations is low but media and scholarly attention are increasing. This study contributes to the literature by showing how circular innovations address possible failure points within value chain material flows. It proves that circularity is a systemic attribute and requires system-wide effort. The paper also advances understanding of circular economy implementation from a general approach to product-specific approach.
While demand for plastic increases because of its broad application base, the negative environmental consequences of plastic production must be minimized through effective value chain design. Plastic production creates GHG emissions, and its inadequate disposal can generate water or air pollution. Plastic packaging makes up over 40 percent of all plastic made, and within that category, plastic grocery bags have been a focal point for reduction of impacts. This paper explores the types of innovations needed to make grocery bags more circular, i.e., increased recycling and reuse. In similar studies, researchers have used one type of model or theoretical frame to address the question, such as life cycle assessment or economics. In this paper, we use the multi-disciplinary approach of convergence science to address this question. We consider a baseline scenario involving single-use plastic grocery bags, and then explore alternatives from the perspectives of life cycle assessment (LCA), policy, economics, and supply chain management. Integration of these perspective highlights the necessary interdependency of circular innovations needed to bring about systemic improvement.
Ever-accumulating amounts of plastic waste raises alarming concern over environmental and public health. A practical solution for addressing this threat is recycling, and the success of an industry-oriented plastic recycling system relies greatly on the accuracy of the waste sorting technique adapted. We propose a multi-modal spectroscopic sensor which combines laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and Raman spectroscopy in a single optical platform for characterizing plastics based on elemental and molecular information to assist the plastic identification-sorting process in recycling industries. The unique geometry of the system makes it compact and cost-effective for dual spectroscopy. The performance of the system in classifying industrially important plastic classes counting PP, PC, PLA, Nylon-1 1, and PMMA is evaluated, followed by the application of the same in real-world plastics comprising PET, HDPE, and PP in different chemical-physical conditions where the system consumes less than 30 ms for acquiring LIBS-Raman signals. The evaluation of the system in characterizing commuting samples shows promising results to be applied in industrial conditions in future. The study on effect of physical–chemical conditions of plastic wastes in characterizing them using the system shows the necessity for combining multiple techniques together. The proposal is not to determine the paramount methodology to characterize and sort plastics, but to demonstrate the advantages of dual-spectroscopy sensors in such applications. The outcomes of the study suggest that the system developed herein has the potential of emerging as an industrial-level plastic waste sorting sensor.
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The oceanic convergence zone in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre acts to accumulate floating marine debris, including plastic fragments of various sizes. Little is known about the ecological consequences of pelagic plastic accumulation. During the 2009 Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastics Expedition (SEAPLEX), we investigated whether mesopelagic fishes ingest plastic debris. A total of 141 fishes from 27 species were dissected to examine whether their stomach contents contained plastic particles. The incidence of plastic in fish stomachs was 9.2%. Net feeding bias was evaluated and judged to be minimal for our methods. The ingestion rate of plastic debris by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific is estimated to be from 12 000 to 24 000 tons yr–1. Similar rates of plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes may occur in other subtropical gyres.
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The carbonization of coal to produce metallurgical coke is an alternative route for the feedstock recycling of plastic wastes of different structures and origins. Individual plastics or mixed plastics of domestic origin can be incorporated into typical coking blends as secondary raw materials. The effects of the composition of the plastic wastes on the thermoplastic properties of coal, coking pressure generation and the quality of the cokes produced at a semi-pilot scale are discussed. The plastic wastes studied were chosen because cover a wide spectrum in terms of polymer structure and composition (single and multicomponent wastes) in order to establish the right balance between coking pressure generation and coke quality parameters.
In India, Plastic waste rising rapidly day by day due to increasing the living standards of human beings by leaps & bounds and due to increasing population.The plastic waste management is not developing in India however, India having Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. The collection, transportation and process of plastic waste management are unscientific and chaotic. Uncontrolled dumping of wastes on outskirts of towns and cities has created abundantlandfills, which are not only impossible to reclaim because of the haphazard manner of dumping, but also have serious environmental implications in terms of ground water pollution and contribution to global warming. Burning of plastic waste leads to air pollution, which is equivalent to vehicular emissions at times.In the absence of plastic waste segregation practices, recycling has remained to be an informalsector working on outdated technology, but nevertheless flourishing owing to waste material availability and market demand of cheaper recycled products. Plastic recycling have been especially growing due to continuously increasing consumption levels of both the commodities. In this paper, I developa model of plastic waste management under the rule and regulation which has been given by CPCB, Ministry of Environment and etc. in India to maintain the balance of the ecosystem by proper managing the plastic wastes.
Organisms have travelled the Atlantic Ocean as neuston and have rafted on natural marine debris for millions of years. Shipping increased opportunities for marine organism travel mere thousands of years ago but in just decades floating plastic debris is transforming marine rafting. Here we present a combined open-ocean and remote coasts marine debris survey of the Atlantic (from 68S–78N). Daily shipboard observations were made from the Southern Ocean to the high Arctic and the shores of 16 remote islands were surveyed. We report (1) anthropogenic debris from the most northerly and southerly latitudes to date, (2) the first record of marine biota colonising debris at latitudes >68, and (3) the finding of exotic species (the barnacle Elminius modestus) on northern plastic debris. Plastic pieces dominated both open-ocean and stranding marine debris. The highest densities of oceanic debris were found around northwest Europe, whereas the highest stranding levels were equatorial. Our findings of high east-Arctic debris colonisation by fauna contrast with low values from west Arctic (though only two samples) and south Atlantic shores. Colonisation rates of debris differed between hemispheres, previously considered to be similar. Our two South Atlantic mega-debris shipboard surveys (10years apart) found no changes in open-ocean debris densities but resurvey of a UK and an Arctic island both found increases. We put our findings in the context of the Atlantic literature to interpret spatial and temporal trends in marine debris accumulation and its organismal consequences.