Involved Members: Dr. James Kar Hei FANG, Prof. Paul Kwan Sing LAM
Plastic waste are introduced into the environment inevitably and their exposure in the environment causes deterioration in mechanical and physicochemical properties and leads to the formation of plastic fragments, which are considered as microplastics when their size is < 5 mm. In recent years, microplastic pollution has been reported in all kinds of environments worldwide and is considered a potential threat to the health of ecosystems and humans. In this review, potential hotspots for the accumulation of plastic waste were identified, major mechanisms and characterization methods of plastic degradation were summarized, and studies on the environmental degradation of plastics were evaluated. Formation and degradation of microplastics, including nanoplastics, should receive more research attention to assess their fate and ecological risks in the environment more comprehensively.
Zhang, K., Hamidian, A.H., Tubić, A., Zhang, Y., Fang, J.K.H., Wu, C. & Lam, P.K.S. (2021). Understanding plastic degradation and microplastic formation in the environment: a review. Environmental Pollution, 274, 116554.