No one knows the precise data on how much plastic packaging ends up in waterways in Serbia every year. It takes dozens or even hundreds of years to decompose one plastic bag. However, a plastic bag in water can break down into microplastics that can eventually end up in the human diet.
Careless disposal of waste by rivers is not new in Serbia, and waste very often ends up in the rivers themselves. Most of the waste that ends up in the water is plastic.
The available data show that it practically never disappears completely, but also passes into the state of microplastics during decomposition.
Plastic packaging can contain certain chemicals, such as bisphenols, phthalates and other additives, which can migrate from the packaging into the water or other products it contains. These chemicals can potentially have negative effects on human health if they end up in drinking water.
Of particular concern is the fact that indicates that the known methods of water purification in plants are not adequate when it comes to microplastics, i.e. microplastics can go through the processes of sedimentation and filtration in water purification plants, and eventually end up in the water discharged into rivers from where can be used for water supply.
At the same time, there can also be contamination of groundwater with microplastics, which directly affects water intakes and sources of drinking water.
In order to reduce the negative impact of plastic packaging on water quality, it is important to take appropriate measures for plastic management. These include reducing the use of single-use plastics, promoting recycling, proper waste disposal, and developing innovative packaging materials that are less harmful to the environment and human health. It is also important to conduct impact research plastic to water and work on regulations that will protect water resources from plastic pollution.