Polymers, plastics, and composite materials are widely used in the shipping industry and so get exposed to marine waters. Biofouling of these leads to problems for ships and boats in the form of reduced speed and corrosion, which these industries would like to prevent. Several hundred thousand tons of plastics that are discarded reach the marine environment every year either from land run-off or because of maritime activities. It has been estimated that because plastics do not degrade easily, one million marine animals are killed every year either by choking on floating plastic items or by becoming entangled in plastic debris.
For the shipping industry the polymer should not foul and should be stable for extended periods of time in the marine environment. For the environmentalist the waste dumped after its use should degrade fast without causing problems to flora and fauna as well to the coastal economies. Addressing one of these issues leads to enhancement of the other issue and so this is not an easy problem to solve. This book covers the interaction of polymers with the marine environment, the problems they cause to ecology, their biofouling and biodegradation, and possible solutions.