According to scientists by 2050 plastic pollution will be more than fish life in the oceans.
Recycling is important but the best way to make a difference to the environment, you should first look towards reducing consumption. To prevent plastic from entering the environment in the first place, we need to reduce plastic use. Plastic pollution never completely biodegrades; instead, it just breaks down into small particles that remain in the ocean for years and being ingested by birds and marine life.
Where Does Plastic Pollution Come from?
More than 300 million tons of plastic waste each year are produced worldwide. More than 8 billion tons of plastic were produced since 1950. The countries contributing to the most plastic pollution are China, United States, India, Indonesia, Brazil.
If we look at the number only 9% of the globally produced plastic gets recycled and the rest end up the landfill and eventually in the oceans. Microplastics look similar to plankton and marine life eat inject them and at some point, they reach human through the food chain.
80 percent of all pollution in seas and oceans comes from land-based activities.
Most of the world’s plastics are produced by 300 polymer companies across the globe. Investors and banks have to be prohibited from investing in companies like those.
Reduce Your Plastic Use
Just in the last decade of this century we made more plastic than all the plastic in human history.
Most of the plastic pollution found in the oceans is from single-use plastic. Canada is taking the most ambitious action by any country and planning to ban all single-use plastic by 2021. India is planning to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.
Other countries such as Norway and Germany successfully started using a deposit return scheme, where customers pay a 25 cent deposit on every bottle of soft or alcoholic drink, except milk, baby products and medical liquids.
France became the first country in the world in 2016 to ban the manufacture and sale of single-use plastic such as cutlery, cups, takeaway food boxes and plates.
Sweden for example is known as one of the nations with the best recycling scheme and less than one percent of Sweden’s household waste goes into landfill. In South Korea, over 80% of the plastic is recycled while in the US less than 30%.
Stop pollution from entering the ocean
Finally, more people, governments, and companies are realizing the negative effect of plastic pollutions and taking steps. Start-up company The Ocean Cleanup is developing technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. They aim to efficiently intercept plastic in rivers by tackling 1000 rivers around the world from entering the ocean in five years.
Scientists found that plastic-eating mushrooms not only remove pollutants from the soil but convert waste into biofuels. Even if the mushrooms are not edible, they have other use such as a company is using mushrooms for plastic alternatives or building materials.
The problem with plastic pollution is not going away and it is expected to rise in the next years. Americans produce over 251 million tons of trash dropped annually that ends up mostly in the landfills.
According to EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists!
Simple changes to our every day habits can help us save millions of tons of plastic waste and reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Small steps we take to reduce plastic use and improve recycling can make a huge difference, if we do a few small changes in our habits we all can contribute a lot towards a green Earth.