TCoPS - 21

THE QUANTIFIABLE
MARKET COSTS
MARINE ECOSYSTEM
SERVICE COST
FORMAL AND INFORMAL
WASTE MANAGEMENT
CO2
GHG EMISSIONS
THE UNQUANTIFIED
HEALTH COSTS AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
LOSS ON TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
Plastic pollution also poses potential risks to
terrestrial ecosystems, but this remains largely
unresearched. Despite a growing body of research on the
effect of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, the potential
impacts on terrestrial ecosystems remain largely unexplored.
A 2019 literature review on the effects of plastic pollution
found that 76% of studies were relevant to marine ecosystems
while only 4% were relevant to terrestrial ecosystems.130
However, the research that does exist outlines the material
threat that plastic poses:
Terrestrial organisms face multiple exposure points
to plastic. Plastic ingestion has been reported in terrestrial
birds,131
as well as sheep and goats.132
that bees incorporate anthropogenic debris like plastic
into their nests.133
Increased usage of plastic in agricultural
practices has also led to an increase in the presence of plastic
debris in agricultural soils.134
It has also been reported
These interactions could pose threats both to the
lifespan of these organisms and some key ecosystem
processes. For example, plastic beads of a similar size
to pollen could potentially disrupt important plant and
pollinator ecological functions.135
It is also clear that plastic
has the potential to entangle and suffocate land animals,
threatening terrestrial wildlife. Chemical effects of plastic,
although less discussed, could also prove damaging for
terrestrial ecosystems. Microplastics can stunt earthworm
growth and cause them to lose weight which, due to their
importance for soil health, could have detrimental impacts
on soil ecosystems and even plant growth.136
Additionally,
the accumulation of plastic in soils themselves can lead to
potentially irreversible soil degradation.137
Therefore, some
species and ecological processes may already be under
significant pressure from exposure to plastics, threatening the
functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.
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TCoPS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of TCoPS

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https://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2020
https://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/freshwater_fishes_report
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/covid19_report
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2019
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/livingplanet_summary
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/livingplanet_full
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/conversation_strategy
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2015
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2013
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013-de
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013-fr
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwf_france/rapport_dactivite_2011-2012
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2012
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com