14 ways plastic is harming us and the environment

10 ways using less plastic will benefit you
10 ways reducing plastic will benefit YOU
February 22, 2018
smart cara fix for three green flashing lights
You Smart Cara has three green flashing lights and has stopped working. Now what?
March 7, 2018
14 ways your plastic consumption is harming you and the environment

14 ways your plastic consumption is harming you and the environmentAccording to GreenPeace, we’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the 1950s. Of that staggering total, just 9% was recycled. The remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the natural environment, including our oceans.

And the problem is set to get worse. About half of all plastics produced between 1950-2015 were made since 2002. If this kind of trajectory continues, 12 billion tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.

Shocking statistics

The United Nations Ocean Conference estimated there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

Don’t just let that statistic wash over you as you look for the next hit. Stop and think about that for a moment; breathe it in, try to imagine it, feel it. Think about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit from us if we let it happen.

by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish

How about…

Along with there being more plastic in the oceans than fish, it is believed that by 2050, 99 per cent of all the seabirds on the planet will have consumed plastic in some form.

by 2050, 99 per cent of all the seabirds on the planet will have consumed plastic in some form.

Here’s a dead albatross

Recognise anything that was found in its stomach?

There are certainly things I use in there – lighters, bottle caps and a toothbrush. What about you?

why we shojld stop using plastic - albatros with plastic in its stomach

And here’s Sir David Attenborough:

The oceans are full of it

Some estimates say the sea now contains 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy.

sea contains 51 trillion microplastic particles

Here’s a turtle

Munching on an carrier bag for lunch. He’s mistaken the bag for a jelly fish. GreenPeace tell us that plastic is so prevalent in our magnificent oceans that 1 in 3 turtles have now eaten some.

a-turtle-at-the-mercy-of-a-plastic-carrier-bag

Here’s why you should say no to plastic, disposable straws

Not for the faint hearted or squeamish:

Did you hear the one about the whale?

In 2016, thirteen sperm whales beached themselves.

Researchers found that four of the giant marine animals had large amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs; including over 40 feet of  fishing net, a plastic car engine cover, and the remains of a plastic bucket.

including over 40 feet of fishing net, a plastic car engine cover, and the remains of a plastic bucket.

It’s a mad world

Oil takes million of years to form, we drill it out of the ground, turn into plastic, much of which is used ONCE before ending up in landfill, where it then sits for several hundred years.

oil takes millions of years to form

Extinction

The Wildlife Trusts estimate that 177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish are at risk as a result of consuming plastic litter at sea.

177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish are at risk as a result of consuming plastic litter at sea.

Plastic – the most hazardous material littering our seas

Plastic, our much-loved convenience product, causes death and injury to hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine species every year through swallowing and entanglement.

Plastic, our much-loved product causes death and injury to hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine species every year through swallowing and entanglement.

Would you like plastic for dinner?

Many plastics do not completely disappear; they simply break into tinier and tinier pieces. 

When this happens in the sea, the floating plastic debris can absorb pollutants such as PCBs, DDT and PAHs. These small fragments of plastic then get eaten by fish who mistake the plastic as a food source. Some of these fish are then eaten by you and you end up ingesting these toxic chemicals.

plastic in fish

Not in my back yard

It’s not just affecting the people who pollute: the beaches of one of the world’s most remote islands have been found to be polluted with the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet.

Talking of islands

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a soup of plastic waste, floating like an ‘island’ between Hawaii and California. It is estimated to span 1,351,000 sq miles and be and growing so fast it’s becoming visible from space. And that’s just one, there are four more gyres on the planet.

Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss is founder of MyZeroWaste.com and ZeroWasteWeek.co.uk Both are leading websites for helping householders reduce landfill waste. Her work has attracted media stories and engagement in documentaries, film and radio both locally and abroad.

4 Comments

  1. Jan Holttum says:

    Oh my God, I’m in tears

  2. Holly Bush says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I just read about 5 articles Haha. Single use plastic is by far my most hated item! It makes me so so angry! That quote from David Attenborough is right – we KNOW there’s a problem and we KNOW what to do to fix it – but we don’t! More awareness needed I think. You’re doing a good thing 😍 hopefully you have instagram – I’m going to stalk you haha

    I’ve put my website below – but it’s not live yet haha – still to nervous to post. One day.

    • Hi Holly, thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. Please start your blog, once you’ve written that first post there will be no stopping you! See you in Instagram. I’m @myzerowaste

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.