Planetary Boundaries

Novel entities

The chemical pollution boundary has been expanded and renamed “novel entities” created entirely by us humans. They include emissions of toxic compounds such as synthetic organic pollutants and radioactive materials, but also genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics. These can persist in the environment for a very long time, and their effects are potentially irreversible.

Caption: Tar ponds, Fort McMurray, Alberta
Credit: Google / Digital Globe