UNEP Report - Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter (2015)
The development and use of synthetic polymers, and plastics has conferred widespread benefits on society. One of the most notable properties of these materials is their durability which, combined with their accidental loss, deliberate release and poor waste management has resulted in the ubiquitous presence of plastic in oceans. As most plastics in common use are very resistant to biodegradation, the quantity of plastic in the ocean is increasing, together with the risk of significant physical or chemical impacts on the marine environment. The nature of the risk will depend on: the size and physical characteristics of the objects; the chemical composition of the polymer; and, the time taken for complete biodegradation to occur (GESAMP 2015).