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Plastic pollution in the natural environment is a global problem, with an estimated five trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tonnes afloat in the oceans in 2014 . Plastic pollution has the potential to significantly negatively impact the earth system and biosphere in the long-term. With global plastic production increasing, society is at a crucial point for tackling the challenge of ongoing plastic pollution, through a better understanding of the extent and distribution of the problem, the range of impacts of plastic on the environment and ecosystems, ways to reduce the generation of plastic waste and litter, and mitigating the effects of plastic already present in the environment. PLOS ONE is delighted to present this Collection of research articles on Plastics in the Environment, bringing together research from different disciplines in order to shed light on this crucial and highly interdisciplinary topic.
Image Credit: Marine debris litters a beach on Laysan Island in the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, where it washed ashore. (Susan White/USFWS)