National Geographic has published a series of articles entitled “Planet or Plastic” in which the magazine provides an update on the ocean pollution crisis. Let us consider some of the key findings by the NatGeo team:
- Plastic production took off in the 1950’s and and three-quarters of the plastic ever produced never found its way to a trash can
- Estimates for plastic bio-degradation range from 450 years to never
- Most of the plastic that finds its way to our oceans is not thrown off ships. It is initially dumped on land or in rivers and later blown into the seas.
- The biggest single source of plastic is packaging.
- Ocean plastic is killing millions of animals – some visibly and some invisibly as they involuntarily consume tiny bits of plastic that float around everywhere.
- Nanoplastics (the tiny bits into which plastics degrade into) might pass into animal and subsequently human flesh.
And the punchline comes with this quote:
This isn’t a problem where we don’t know what the solution is. We know how to pick up garbage. Anyone can do it. We know how to dispose of it. We know how to recycle.
Indeed, caring about the planet is something we all can do.
We can not do justice to the original, superbly written and thorough articles with this summary, and would highly recommend them.