Ocean Plastic Is Bad, but Soil Plastic Pollution May Be Worse
Author: Mallory Daily
According to a recent report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the earth’s soils may be more saturated with plastic pollution than oceans and an estimated 80% of plastics found in marine environments are first disposed of on land. The report announces the first global call for action to protect agricultural soils from plastic pollution based on the “6R principle” for sustainable plastic use, which involves refusing, redesigning, reducing, reusing, recycling, and recovering plastics. While scientists note significant gaps in knowledge about how plastics affect soils, a growing body of research has shown that they can serve as vectors for chemicals and pathogens harmful to human health. They can also disrupt soil biology and crop establishment, which could negatively impact food security.