Pollution from plastic is destroying our planet and our bodies.
Some astonishing facts from http://www.EcoWatch.com:
• In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.
• Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
• 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
• Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
• We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
• The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
• Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
• The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bioplastics are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
• Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
• 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
• Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
• The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
• Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
• One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
• 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
• In samples collected in Lake Erie, 85 percent of the plastic particles were smaller than two-tenths of an inch, and much of that was microscopic. Researchers found 1,500 and 1.7 million of these particles 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).
• Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body 93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).
• Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
It takes 500 to 1,000 years to break down and creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Therefore, every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter. Plastic poisons our food chain. In the environment, plastic breaks down into small particles that attract toxic chemicals. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, thus contaminating the food chain and our very own bodies! Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us, including newborns.
Plastic recycling is not a sustainable solution to the crisis. Most of our plastic waste is land-filled, downcycled, incinerated or exported to other countries. Recycling of plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product.
The Fight Against Plastic Pollution : Educate Yourself on Legislative Changes Around the World!
“In one fell sip, Seattle on Sunday became the first major U.S. city to ban drinking straws, an environmentally friendly move that leaders hope will spark a nationwide conversation about small, everyday changes that people can make to protect the planet.” – Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Follow the Source to read more on legislative changes being made in Seattle: Seattle’s Switch
“Law and regulation surrounding environmental pollution have been successful in the past to correct human error that is otherwise toxic to the environment, such as industrial water and air pollution. Now, environmental policy is beginning to foster the same regulation on plastics.” – David Evans
Get the latest updates on Legislation Against Plastic Pollution
Understanding the challenges of making a global shift happen is important:
“Numerous international and regional treaties, conventions and other agreements impose binding obligations on countries to protect the oceans, their wildlife and their ecosystems from pollution. That includes pollution originating on land, like plastic bottles, shopping bags, crisp packets, cigarette lighters and cellophane wrappers. But there is one great problem with international law: The commitments may be solemn and legally binding, but they are hard to uphold.” – Oliver Tickell
Learn more about how we can help enforce plastic bans.