Challenges and Sustainable Solutions to Plastics Pollution in the Ecosystem


Agamuthu Pariatamby
Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, Sunway University, 47500 Selangor, Malaysia


The challenges are numerous. Mismanagement of plastic waste, inadequate recycling, littering, urban and stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, industrial activities, construction, and illegal dumping coming from land-based activities. Quality loss due to recycling, heterogenous composition of plastic products are other issues. About 1.8 billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted by plastic production every year. An estimated 5-13 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean yearly and as a consequence 51 trillion particles are floating in the ocean. This has caused serious environmental pollution and economic loss. Sustainable solutions include the use of Circular Economy (CE) and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) towards zero waste. Although several countries throughout the world have policies in place to deal with plastic waste, they have yet to be properly enforced or implemented. CE and EPR are envisaged as possible solutions. There is an urgent need to ban single use plastics globally. Therefore, a summary of various policy options, the usage of modern recycling technology and other sustainability methods will be discussed. To find practical solutions to plastic challenges, it is critical for collaboration among global, regional, and national levels, research institutes, and industries. It is also equally important for organizations and society to collaborate in order to teach communities and individuals how to reduce plastic pollution as part of a larger effort to combat plastic pollution.

November 3, 2022