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The Way of Macroplastic through the Environment

Lechthaler, Waldschläger, Stauch & Schüttrumpf
September, 2020

With the focus on microplastic in current research, macroplastic is often not further considered. Thus, this review paper is the first to analyse the entry paths, accumulation zones, and sinks of macroplastic in the aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric environment by presenting transport paths and concentrations in the environment as well as related risks. This is done by applying the Source–Pathway–Receptor model on macroplastic in the environment. Based on this model, the life cycle of macroplastic is structurally described, and knowledge gaps are identified. Hence, current research aspects on macroplastic as well as a sound delimitation between macro- and microplastic that can be applied to future research are indicated. The results can be used as basic information for further research and show a qualitative assessment of the impact of macroplastic that ends up in the environment and accumulates there. Furthermore, the applied model allows for the first time a quantitative and structured approach to macroplastic in the environment.