We have a global plastic problem and it's time to find a solution.
In the last 70 years alone we’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tonnes of non-degradable plastic, which has inevitably ended up in landfills, lakes and beaches across the world. 8.3 billion tonnes. To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of 20,000 Empire State Buildings worth of plastic waste.
This epidemic is a problem that stretches far. Recently Caroline Power, a world renowned underwater photographer, captured shocking images of an unbelievable amount of plastic pollution in the Caribbean Sea. Items such as bottles, cutlery and even polystyrene cups covering miles of the beautiful blue water.
Caroline’s images set social
media ablaze and has shined a well needed light on an issue that has been
described as a planetary crisis. The consequences of which can have severe effects
upon marine conservation. In fact just last week another powerful news item
from the Telegraph in the UK covered a worrying story about how a Canadian
fishing crew found a lobsterwith a Pepsi logo imprinted on its claw, illustrating just how much the
plastic waste in our oceans are affecting those that live there.
How much plastic waste have humans produced?
Research carried out this year from the University of California estimates a total of 6.3bn of the total 8.3bn tonnes of plastic created by humans has ended up as waste. What’s more worrying is 79% has ended up in landfills or in the natural environment. The best estimations by scientists have predicted 12bn tonnes of plastic would have been produced by 2050.
How many plastic bottles are we making?
480bn bottles were sold globally in 2016 alone. That works out as a million bottles a minute and the volume is increasing. The sheer amount of plastic bottle production is compounding the environmental problems being caused from plastic waste.
How much is plastic effecting our oceans?
Many countries around the globe are doing a poor job of managing the amount of plastic waste they generate. Although China is a high offender, the USA is in the list of top 10 countries, in terms of the amount of plastic generated per person. This mismanagement of waste is one of the biggest contributors to plastics ending up in our oceans.
How long does it take plastic to biodegrade?
Compared to other common waste items such as styrofoam and aluminium, plastic takes several generations to biodegrade. In fact, plastic bottles take a staggering 450 years.to biodegrade which is why it's critical we are all more educated on the issue so we can make more informed and better decisions in the future.
How does the future look?
What makes these facts more worrying is that things are likely to get worse before they get better. The demand for bottled drinks in the USA continues to grow. During 2016, bottled water consumption overtook soda as the preferred choice of beverage across the US. This is a step forward in a bid to battle diet related diseases such as diabetes and obesity but is a step backward in striving to create a greener and eco-friendly world.
All is not lost. There are many that are looking to slow down the impact plastic is having on our environment. The UN Ocean Chief has called for governments, firms and the everyday individual to act in the wake of a “planetary crisis”. The steps suggested are:
- Taking responsibility for our own waste
- Reviewing consumption patterns
- Reducing the use of single use plastic items such as plastic bags, straws and cutlery
What’s really positive is that these codes of conduct have already been implemented in many places across the USA such as Austin, Cambridge, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, proving there are many out there trying to battle this pollution problem.
What we can do to help?
As Waterlogic have customers across 13 countries we understand how important it is to reduce plastic waste across the globe. We are not only dedicated in reducing plastic waste through the bottle free products we sell we are also dedicated to educating individuals and businesses about plastic waste management and reduction by rethinking the choices we make in our personal and professional lives. This is why we frequently publish informative articles that help educate people on the environmental effects of plastic and provide advice on how to reduce plastic use in your workplace and in your home.