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The current status of plastics- a New Zealand perspective. In Particulate Plastics: Sources and Ecotoxicity in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments (edited by NSBolan, MBKirkham, CHalsband, DNugegoda and YSOk. CRC Press.

Abstract

Microplastics come from the partial degradation of plastic material. Plastic has been defined as a synthetic organic water-insoluble polymer, generally of petrochemical origin, that can be molded on heating and manipulated into various shapes designed to be maintained during use. Research on marine plastic pollution has been the focal point of scientists, the public, and policymakers. The exceptional properties of plastics make them “unique material” for applications in industry, construction, medicine, and food safety. Human behavioral patterns are responsible for plastic production and pollution through discarding plastic and from the use of plastic-enabled products that over time break down and release microplastics. The amount of microplastics in terrestrial environments is currently estimated to be equal or greater than it is in the world’s oceans, and it is continuing to increase. The growing amount of interest among the general public, researchers, and media has caused plastic debris to be perceived as a major threat to environment and human health.

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