The true extent of our current Plastic Waste on our Environment
Have you ever tried to imagine just how much plastic waste is flowing into the oceans?
Research shows that put the amount of plastic reaching the oceans each year at about 8m tonnes. That is the equivalent of 55 million (no, there is not a typo) jumbo jets. The true figure is much higher at about 11m tonnes.
Since the early 2000s, our output of plastic waste rose more in a single decade than it had in the previous 40 years. At present, we produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. That is nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population, and about 60% of that plastic has ended up in either a landfill or the natural environment.
If this trend continues, the amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans will grow to 29m tonnes a year by 2040, and this will result to the equivalent of 50kg for every meter of coastline in the world and our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
Rivers carry plastic waste from deep inland to the Sea
Rivers are the major contributor of pollution to the oceans. According to a UN environment report, there are ten main rivers, and these rivers alone carry 90 percent of plastic wastes that ends up in the oceans. The amount of waste contain by the rivers are:
Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) 1,469,481 tons
Indus 164,332 tons
Huang He (Yellow River) 124,249 tons
Hai He 91,858 tons
Nile 84,792 tons
Meghna, Brahmaputra, Ganges 72,845 tons
Zhujiang (Pearl River) 52,958 tons
Amur 38,267 tons
Niger 35,196 tons
Mekong 33,431 tons
Plastic Wastes in the Environment can last for centuries
The properties in plastic that make it so useful is also the main reason for its extremely long-lasting durability are the same double-edged sword which makes them almost impossible for nature to break it down. Most plastics are never fully recycled, rather they wear down into smaller and smaller particles called microplastics. These tiny particles of plastic are consumed by many animals and fishes as they mistake them for food. As a result, it becomes a great danger for the life of many living beings. By clogging sewers and providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pests, plastic waste especially plastic bags, can increase the transmission of vector-borne diseases like malaria.
The world is waking up to reduce Plastic Pollution
According to National Geographic, many countries and organizations have taken the necessary measure in order to tackle this major problem of our current world, and many more important steps will likely be taken in the future. Some example which is posted by national geography in recent times are:
CANADA AIMS TO BAN SINGLE-USE PLASTICS BY 2021- (June 10, 2019)
PERU RESTRICTS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC- (January 17, 2019)
SAN DIEGO BANS STYROFOAM FOOD AND DRINK CONTAINERS- (January 11, 2019)
AQUARIUMS BAND TOGETHER FOR “NO STRAW NOVEMBER”- (November 1, 2018)
250 GROUPS LAUNCH MASSIVE GLOBAL PLASTIC PARTNERSHIP- (October 29, 2018)
EU PARLIAMENT APPROVES SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAN- (October 26, 2018)
AMERICAN AIRLINES CUTS PLASTIC FROM LOUNGES- (October 19, 2018)
CALIFORNIA APPROVES BILL TO LIMIT STRAW USE IN RESTAURANTS- (September 20, 2018)
DISNEY ANNOUNCES BAN ON PLASTIC STRAWS- (July 27, 2018)
EU, UK, AND INDIA PROPOSE PLASTIC BANS- (May 28, 2018)