Did you know?
Every year we produce more than 300 million tons of plastic. About half of this is used just once and is then thrown away. If we don’t do anything about it, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
All the plastic that was ever produced in the world is still on earth in one way or another. plastic that enters the ocean never disappears. it just slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller particles called microplastics and nanoplastics.
Why is this bad? One reason is that any marine animal that eats zooplankton...say, a jelly fish...will eat it. And then a larger fish eats the jellyfish, and on and on. These animals end up with a stomach full of undigestible plastic, and they starve to death. AND the spicy tuna roll you're eating is permeated with plastic dust and toxins. Not so yum.
8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. to put this in perspective, this is five trash bags high for every one foot of coastline on the planet. picture that. every year.
100,000 marine mammals and turtles, and one million sea birds die every year by plastic pollution.
Plastics consistently make up 60 - 90% of all marine debris.
In a typical sample of sand gathered along shorelines, one quarter of the weight may be plastic particles.
In the next hour, Americans will use and throw away 2,500,000 plastic bottles. Every one of those will still exist 1,000 years from now.
500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. This is more than a million bags a minute. On average each bag is used for about 12 minutes and then thrown away.
The average family accumulates over 60 bags in just 4 trips to the grocery store.
1% of plastic bags are recycled.
And even though the oceans get a lot of media attention concerning the plastic crisis, it may be that there is an even bigger threat to plants and animals (including humans) that live on land. Only a fraction of plastic is recycled, much of it ending up in landfills, leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water. Terrestrial microplastic pollution is even estimated to be 4 to 23 times higher than in the marine environment. This needs a new website...
Interested in learning more?
Watch the shocking documentary "A Plastic Ocean" https://plasticoceans.org/about-film/
Available on netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
The book by Michiel Abbing "Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution" well-illustrates the crisis.
Have a quick look at the Plastic soup website:
Michiel Abbing, "Plastic Soup: An Altlas of Ocean Pollution," Island Press, April 14, 2019
April 2019 NOAA, "What are Microplastics?" https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html
April 2019 "Information about the Plastic Soup" https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/psf-junior/
April 2019 William Harris "How Long Does it Take for Plastics to Biodegrade>" https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/how-long-does-it-take-for-plastics-to-biodegrade.htm