Plastic contamination has become a widespread societal and ecological threat due to its global application, persistence, and adverse impact on environment. Global plastic production has reached 368 million tons, with production in China and Europe at 114.08 and 60 million tons in 2021, respectively; some predictions of global production to exceed 33 billion tons by 2050. During 2015, an estimated production of plastic waste was about 6300 million tons, 12% of which was incinerated and 9% had been recycled. While the remaining 79% accumulated in natural environment.
Soil systems have become a major sink of plastics due to agricultural activities, including through amendments of sewage/sludge and organic fertilizers, as well as through the use of plastic films and mulches. Specifically, the application of municipal sludge in agriculture adds approximately 7.76 million tons of synthetic fibers or sedimented microplastic (MPx <5 mm to >100 nm)/nanoplastic (NPx <100 nm) to soil systems each year. Furthermore, mulching use for crop production as part of weed control and irrigation strategies introduces approximately 4.4 million tons of plastics each year to soils. Additionally, organic fertilizers from biowaste fermentation and composting have been reported to contain up to 895 plastic particles kg−1 and have been identified as major source of plastics contamination of soil. In addition, landfill sites have been identified as one of the most significant entry pathways of plastic pollution into the environment. Landfills received significant concentration of plastic wastes from household and industrial sectors as about 42% of the global plastic waste (359 million tons generated in 2018). Furthermore, estimated concentration of microplastics in landfill leachates is about 0-291 particles L−1, which highly depends upon the landfill conditions. Based on the above facts, there is urgent need to adopt the sustainable approaches for reduction of plastic pollution in environment.
Azeem, I.;Adeel, M.; Ahmad, M.A.; Shakoor, N.; Jiangcuo, G.D.; Azeem, K.; Ishfaq, M.; Shakoor, A.; Ayaz, M.; Xu, M.; et al. Uptake and Accumulation of Nano/Microplastics in Plants: A Critical Review. Nanomaterials 2021, 11,2935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ nano11112935