The plastic waste picture

Imagine this picture:  UNEP reports that, around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute! EVERY MINUTE!! And… up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year!!! At this rate, the earth is bound to be drowned in plastic waste, because as we know it, it takes a pretty long time for plastic to break-down.

Plastic materials include water bottles, dispensing containers and trays, milk/ice cream containers, soap and shampoo bottles, book packaging films and bags, cutlery, plates, straws, cups, shopping bag, to mention a few.

Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment. (1)

Plastic debris has been found in all major ocean basins, with an estimated 4 to 12 million metric tons (Mt) of plastic waste generated on land entering the marine environment in 2010 alone. ( 2)

It is estimated that globally, about 300million tonnes of plastic is produced every year. To put this in perspective, it is about the weight of all humans on earth. All this plastic basically end up in our landfills and in our environments. We see them everywhere, in trenches, by the roadsides, over water bodies and, even some may fly into your face on a windy day!

It is a scary picture if you can imagine what this means for water supply, biodiversities and food production. Every part of the earth system will surely take a bad hit. One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. (3)

So there you have it, a very frightening picture of the earth drowned in plastic waste. It almost feels like one person cannot make an impact, but the truth is we can all make a difference. How? Let see these simple things we can do:

1. When you go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping), just go with your own reusable bags. Make an effort to say NO to plastic bags.

2. Picnics or parties? Plastic cutlery, plates, cups and straws come in handy, don’t they? Hagainagin, refuse and insist to eat in a paper or ceramic plate. You can also insist that plastics are used and collected for reuse.

3. Get your own water bottle and use it instead of buying plastic bottled water. In fact, carrying your own water bottle is even cheaper.

4. Get involved with community action to pressure local food suppliers and producers to use non-plastic packaging. Join the fight by all means.

5. Support a ban on plastic bags and bottles. Even though this may look like a big deal, it will be eventually great for the environment.