Plastic pollution is
by Douglas McCauley
Plastic forms part of our everyday lives, and its release into our environment has become a serious global crisis affecting our land, waterways and oceans. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. It is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by weight.
“Forming pollution is easy, but resolving the impact of it is difficult”
Living organisms, particularly marine animals, are being harmed by entanglement in plastic objects, problems related to ingestion of plastic waste and through exposure to chemicals within plastics.
Entanglement in plastic debris has been responsible for the deaths of many marine organisms, such as fish, seals, turtles, and birds. These animals get caught in the debris and end up suffocating or drowning.
“Over 400,000 marine mammals perish annually due to plastic ”
“Pieces of plastic from one disintegrated litre bottle ends up on every mile of beach throughout the world”
The litter that is being delivered into the oceans is toxic to marine life, and humans. Plankton, fish, and ultimately the human race, through the food chain, ingest these highly toxic carcinogens and chemicals. Consuming the Fish that contain these toxins can reportedly cause an increase in cancer, immune disorders, and birth defects
“One million sea birds are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.”
Plastic pollution does not only affect animals that live solely in ocean’s waters. Seabirds are also vulnerable. Seabirds often mistake trash floating on the ocean’s surface as food. Ingested trash can obstruct and physically damage a bird’s digestive system, which can lead to malnutrition, starvation, and death.
“Studies has shown that even our tap water contains plastic pollutants.”
The litter that is washed or dumped into Our oceans contains toxins which reports suggest have an negative impact on marine life, and humans. Plankton, Fish, and ultimately the human race, through the food chain, ingest these toxic chemicals. Consuming the Fish that contain these toxins can cause an increase in cancer, immune disorders, and birth defects.
“Your plastic litter lands up in our streets, seas and is killing our species”
Our plastic waste can be found everywhere. In landfills, in the streets, in the ocean and only 1 to 3% is recycled.
From the road, down the storm drain or into a river, straight into our ocean. Before you throw plastic away think of its journey and where it will land up.
- We use 5 trillion plastic bags per year.
- It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
- 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced worldwide each year.
- Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
- Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
- Most bags are simply thrown out. Less than 1 percent are recycled. They are most often made from Polyethylene that takes centuries to degrade. Each ton of recycled plastic bags saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil.
- The death of one sperm whale found in California (USA) was caused by 22.2 kilos of plastic that the whale had eaten.
- We have an island in the middle of the North Pacific Gyre, ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’,mostly composed of plastic. It’s the size of I ndia, Europe and Mexico combined.