How plastic is affecting earth

Jul 15, 2020 | Inspiration

Just like various modern products and technology, plastic has negative effects. The negative effects of plastic can be difficult to observe and may not appear to affect us directly, but plastic damages our planet and health.

Globally, the world produces more than millions of tons of plastic every year and the majority of plastic products are not recyclable.

The damage of plastic

Plastic leads to the end of marine life and pollutes the earth. Millions of tons of plastic are in the environment as waste, especially in the oceans and seas.

Some key facts:

  • Most of all plastics ever produced have been made in the previous 15 years.
  • Manufacturing increased drastically from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to magnify by 2050.
  • Yearly, about eight million tons of plastic waste get washed into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.
  • Plastics often contain supplements that make them stronger, more flexible and durable. Many of these additives can extend the life of products even when they become litter, with some estimates stating that it could take at least 400 years for these to break down.

How plastics move around the world

Plastic trash in the oceans, Earth’s last sink, flows from the land. Trash is also carried to sea by major rivers, which act as conveyor belts, picking up increasingly more trash as they move downstream. Once at sea, much of the plastic trash remains in coastal waters. Once caught up in ocean currents, it can be carried around the world.

The solution

Is to prevent plastic waste from entering rivers and seas in the first place, so say many scientists and conservationists—including the National Geographic Society. This could be mastered with improved waste management systems and recycling, better product design that takes into account the short life of disposable packaging, and reduction in manufacturing of unnecessary single-use plastics.

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