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Are We Speaking the Same Language? Recommendations for a Definition and Categorization Framework for Plastic Debris

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Nanna B. Hartmann
Thorsten Hüffer
Richard C. Thompson
Martin Hassellöv
Anja Verschoor
Anders E. Daugaard
Sinja Rist
Therese Karlsson
Nicole Brennholt
Matthew Cole
Maria P. Herrling
Maren C. Hess
Natalia P. Ivleva
Amy L. Lusher
Martin Wagner
Publicerad i Environmental Science and Technology
Volym 53
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 1039-1047
ISSN 0013-936X
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för marina vetenskaper
Sidor 1039-1047
Språk en
Länkar https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est....
Ämneskategorier Kemi


Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society. The accumulation of plastic litter in natural environments is a global issue. Concerns over potential negative impacts on the economy, wildlife, and human health provide strong incentives for improving the sustainable use of plastics. Despite the many voices raised on the issue, we lack a consensus on how to define and categorize plastic debris. This is evident for microplastics, where inconsistent size classes are used and where the materials to be included are under debate. While this is inherent in an emerging research field, an ambiguous terminology results in confusion and miscommunication that may compromise progress in research and mitigation measures. Therefore, we need to be explicit on what exactly we consider plastic debris. Thus, we critically discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a unified terminology, propose a definition and categorization framework, and highlight areas of uncertainty. Going beyond size classes, our framework includes physicochemical properties (polymer composition, solid state, solubility) as defining criteria and size, shape, color, and origin as classifiers for categorization. Acknowledging the rapid evolution of our knowledge on plastic pollution, our framework will promote consensus building within the scientific and regulatory community based on a solid scientific foundation.

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