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Policy considerations for limiting unintended residual plastic in agricultural soils

Marion Brodhagen, Jessica R. Goldberger, Douglas G. Hayes, Debra Ann Inglis, Thomas Marsh and Carol Miles

Environmental Science & Policy, 2017, vol. 69, issue C, 81-84

Abstract: Growing crops under high-intensity agriculture entails the use of numerous plastic products, especially polyethylene plastic films used as crop mulches. As a result, some of the world’s most productive agricultural soils are now being affected by plastic pollution, seriously threatening soil health and food security. Plastic film mulches designed to biodegrade in soil provide an appealing alternative to polyethylene films. What may be surprising, however, is that biodegradable plastic films do not necessarily represent a long-term solution to the problem of contaminating soil with plastic residues. Transformative science and policies are needed to mitigate uncertainty of biodegradable plastic residue accumulation in agricultural soils.

Keywords: Plastic mulches; Biodegradation; Soil Health; Plastic pollution; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:enscpo:v:69:y:2017:i:c:p:81-84