IMPACT - JUNE 18 2019
More Plastic than Fish in the Ocean? A New Study Predicts it may happen by 2050.
A new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum details the rapid growth of the plastic industry and the pollution it has caused. The report finds that 15 million tonnes of plastic were produced in 1964, but today that number is around 311 million tonnes. (that’s the equivalent of roughly 900 Empire State Buildings!)
Like all other waste, all that plastic has to go somewhere. The tragic reality is that the majority of plastic used does not get recycled. This is commonly known as single-use plastics. And the scariest part, 165 million tons of plastic are already polluting our ocean!
While the invention of plastic has provided us with invaluable advances in technology, medicine, and science, the largest use of plastics is also the biggest problem - packaging.
Plastic packaging is 26% of the total global production of plastic, the largest share of any plastic use.
8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. That’s equal to dumping one garbage truck into the ocean every minute… that’s simply unacceptable. But what can we do?
On an individual personal level we can remember the R’s.
We must refuse single use plastic, reduce all plastic use to the greatest extent possible, reuse plastic items we already have, and recycled to avoid contributing to the landfill and leakage issues.
But the giant plastic monster won’t be defeated by us alone. The damage is being done by large corporations and manufacturing systems which require policy reform.
80% of plastic leakage is due to manufacturing and business in middle-income countries, in Asia. Businesses and manufacturers can lead the way in combating the environmental impact of plastics by abiding by the R’s as well.
Companies can refuse to use plastic packaging, or at least reduce the amount of packaging for cases where there is no safe alternative (like many items in the medical field). Corporations, manufacturers, and businesses can reuse plastic items, and most importantly, recycle plastics so they do not end up in the landfill or leaking into our oceans.