Plastic pollution is a serious issue that hurts our planet and costs the lives of millions of animals on land and at sea every year. Tons and tons of plastic waste are being dumped into the ocean. It pollutes the water and the air. It poisons birds and marine species. Life, in and out the ocean, is dying. It’s our responsibility to start a plastic revolution to put an end to the damage plastic is causing on our world.
Every year, an estimated eight million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans and even more ends up littering the natural environment on land. This plastic pollution doesn’t biodegrade and can release toxins. Wildlife may also ingest it or get caught in it.
The first-ever European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted on January 2018 will transform the way plastic products are designed, used, produced and recycled in the EU.
Did you know that around 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year? Less than 30% of such waste is collected for recycling. It was estimated that plastics production and the incineration of plastic waste give rise globally to approximately 400 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
Very large quantities of plastic waste leak into the environment from sources both on land and at sea, generating significant economic and environmental damage. Globally, 5 to 13 million tonnes of plastics — 1.5 to 4 % of global plastics production — end up in the oceans every year. In the EU, 150 000 to 500 000 tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year.
Plastic waste from European sources ends up in particularly vulnerable marine areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Arctic Ocean. Recent studies show plastics accumulate in the Mediterranean at a density comparable to the areas of highest plastic accumulation in the oceans. It’s time to rethink plastic :
So what can we do in order to contribute to plastic revolution?
1. Choose reusables
One way to reduce plastic pollution is to stop using single-use plastics. You can find an alternative to many of the plastic items you use every day. Rather than disposable plastic water bottles, buy a reusable one. You can also:
2. Find alternatives
If you do need to purchase single-use items, pay attention to the materials they’re made of. This also goes for packaging, which accounts for a substantial portion of plastic waste. You could buy laundry detergent in a cardboard box, for example, rather than a plastic container.
3. Recycle more
Before buying items made of plastic or that use plastic packaging, check to see whether it’s recyclable. If your workplace doesn’t have a recycling program, talk to management and see if you can set one up. You should be able to arrange pickup with local waste management reasonably easily.
4. Participate In (or Organize) a Beach or River Cleanup
Help remove plastics from the ocean sea, rivers or lakes and prevent them from getting there in the first place. This is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight ocean plastic pollution.
5. Spread the Word about the plastic revolution
Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem. Tell your friends and family about how they can be part of the solution, or host a viewing party for one of the many plastic pollution focused documentaries, like Bag It, Addicted to Plastic, or Garbage Island.
Sources : European Commission, EUR-Lex, Internet.