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Microbial Degradation Of Plastics And Water-Soluble Polymers

Fusako Kawai
Published 2012 · Environmental Science

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Polymer chemistry began approximately 90 years ago, when Staudinger established the theoretical background from which commercial production of synthetic polymers arose. Synthetic polymers, especially solid ones known as plastics, have been at the forefront since World War II. Annual worldwide production of plastics amounts to more than 200 million tons. Synthetic polymers were originally designed to replace natural polymers, with the advantages of long life (no decay), better performance, plasticity of form, and low cost of production, dependent on cheap petroleum. However, public concern over the use of synthetic polymers has been increasing since the end of 1980s as plastic bags have been polluting the environment. Plastic bags can be found everywhere from the deep sea to the highest mountains and can cause serious environmental problems by threatening wildlife and destroying scenic areas.
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