A new study has warned that emissions from plastics could potentially lead to irreversible effects on the planet.
Researchers from Sweden, Norway, and Germany warn that the continued accumulation of emissions from plastic could hit a tipping point soon.
The study notes that the threat is because plastic needs fossil fuels to produce and is also a poorly reversible pollutant. The scientists note that the plastic debris left behind is broken into microplastics which are later disintegrated into nanoplastic particles.
At this point, they warn that it could become impossible to remove plastic from the environment.
Notably, plastic emissions are projected to double by 2025 from the 2016 figure.
The scientist added that the irreversible nature of plastic emissions could have further damage to the climate and wildlife. They singled out overfishing in the ocean and rising temperatures.
Furthermore, the study states that remote environments are the ones under the most significant threat from plastic emissions. As plastics undergo weathering, plastic pollution can’t be removed by clean-up activities.
“Right now, we are loading up the environment with increasing amounts of poorly reversible plastic pollution. If weathering plastic triggers a really bad effect we are not likely to be able to reverse it,” said lead author Professor Matthew MacLeod of Stockholm University.
Although recycling is an option, the report notes that the exercise still has limitations. The research points out that developed countries are exporting their plastic waste to countries with inadequate facilities.
They warned that ignoring the impact of plastic emissions will have a high cost.
Scientists develop bacteria that eats plastics in 7 weeks
With the environmental impact of plastic coming under the spotlight, scientists have been working to find means of mitigating the challenges.
For instance, two Hungarian scientists have developed a cocktail of plastic-eating bacteria that seeks to alleviate the global pollution problems.
Liz Madaras and Krisztina Levay, co-founders of Hungary-based biotech company Poliloop, note that the unique bacterial cocktail eats single-use plastic and transforms them into a brown liquid sludge that can be used as a soil improver. The process takes seven weeks without prior chemical treatment or processing.