A7 Environmental Impact: Plastics

The use of plastics impacts on the environment in various ways including:
  1. 1.
    The plastics themselves do not degrade easily because they have strong covalent bonds. They remain in the environment becoming unhygienic, ugly, blocking sewerage systems etc. and they can be hazardous to wildlife. Animals can ingest plastic which may be toxic to them, cause internal blockages or suffocate them.
  2. 2.
    Disposal of plastics by combustion, or accidental combustion like house fires may release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. These toxic chemicals can arise from the polymers themselves or from plasticisers added during manufacture.
  3. 3.
    Toxic substances used during the manufacturing process may be accidentally released into the environment.