Particulate plastics in drinking water and potential human health effects: Current knowledge for management of freshwater plastic materials in Africa

Large populations are exposed to fresh surface water and plastic packaged drinking water that are contaminated with particulate plastics around the world. In the review, particulate plastics are discussed in relation to the exposure of humans to particulate plastics and the potential risks of adverse health effects. About 4,000,000 particles may be ingested and internalized annually by human beings. Current studies indicate that environmental management of particulate plastics is still in its infancy in many developing countries, and that they have received limited research attention with regard to their potential release into drinking water. Currently, there are no standard protocols for testing these materials in environmental media, and testing methods for these materials are inconsistent. Considering that the risk assessment pathways for particulate plastics have not been validated, the current study emphasizes the need to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to monitor the environment and manage plastic waste in a circular manner. A holistic and a more comprehensive approach is recommended in the paper for evaluating particulate plastics in drinking water and other environmental matrices using quality-assured methods. At the continental level, they proposed an African framework that commits to a circular plastics program by considering: improvements in waste separation and collection, improvements in recycling rates and increasing demand for recycled products, increasing penetration of bioplastics, advocating for the manufacturing of cleaner packaging through product re-engineering, advocating for re-useable plastics

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