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The impacts of climate change in relation to plastic waste on the Umgeni River system.

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The use of plastics and plastic by-products have become so profusely common in everyday life of society that the issues attached to its recycling, disposal and preventing contamination to our soils, rivers and oceans have become a global concern. The amounts of plastic waste in the form of macro- and micro-plastics have reached a level of threat to our rivers and oceans' waters, posing detrimental impacts on our aquatic life, as the marine species are mistaking the plastic debris wastes for food and subsequently affecting human health. Plastic waste in the marine environment is a rising global concern, and it is connected to various environmental and socio-economic consequences. Plastic debris found in marine environments primarily originates from land-based sources, and it is estimated that annually 4 – 12 million tonnes of improperly managed plastic waste enter the marine environment. This research focuses on plastic waste along the Umgeni river before it reaches the ocean. This research proposes undertaking a study at the Umgeni river system to monitor the amounts and characterisation of waste retained at the litter boom system and provides suggestions of optimised locations for the placement of litter booms to maximise the collection and removal of plastic waste. Furthermore, it looks at the valorisation of plastic waste using the WROSE model.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.