Information About Plastic Pollution: 9 Shocking StatsNovember 11, 2022
The world is facing a plastic pollution crisis. Every day, millions of pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. Here is some shocking information about plastic pollution.
This pollution is harming marine life and their habitats. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
The human need to take action to reduce our use of plastic and to properly dispose of the plastic we do use.
The Problem With Plastic Pollution
The problem with plastic pollution is that it is a very real and pressing environmental issue. Plastic pollution occurs when plastic has gathered in an area and has begun to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for wildlife.
From plankton to pilot whales, algae to albatross – no ocean life remains free from the effects of this plastic waste. It’s estimated that 100,000 marine animals are killed each year as a result of plastic pollution.
Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammals.
Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can be harmed either by mechanical effects such as entanglement in plastic objects, or by the ingestion of small pieces of plastic which can block their digestive systems.
The Effects of Plastic Pollution on the Environment
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelsts estimate that we are currently producing over 300 million tons of plastic every year, and much of this ends up in our oceans.
In the ocean, plastic pollution can kill marine mammals directly through entanglement in objects such as fishing gear, but it can also kill through ingestion, as animals mistake small pieces of plastic for food.
Similar to plastics consumption by larger animals, microplastics can result in reduced feeding, energetic deficiencies, injury, or death of zooplankton and other small organisms that form the base of the marine food web.
Given the persistent nature of plastic and its toxicity, plastic pollution is a significant threat to biodiversity. It threatens not only marine life but also terrestrial ecosystems through the contamination of soil and water.
In human occupational and residential environments, plastic products are present in large volume. Pollution by plastics and plastic products can damage and cause health problems to human beings.
Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. Every year, millions of animals are killed by plastics, from birds to fish to other marine organisms.
And the problem is only getting worse – unless we take action to change how we produce, use and dispose of plastic.
Here are some shocking statistics and information about plastic pollution:
-Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are impacted by plastic pollution
-12 million tonnes of plastic are poured into the ocean every year
-The US produces 42 million metric tons of plastic every year
-Plastic waste makes up 80% of all marine pollution
-Around 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year
-Unless we change our ways, the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic ecosystems could nearly triple from 9-14 million tonnes by 2025
-Packaging is the largest end-use market segment for plastics, accounting for just over 40
-70% of our debris sinks into the ocean\’s ecosystem, 15% floats, and 15% lands on our beaches.
-100,000 marine animals die from getting entangled in plastic yearly
What Are The Consequences Of Plastic Pollution?
The consequences of plastic pollution are far-reaching and devastating. Animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms.
Plastic materials can also be carcinogenic and can affect the body’s endocrine system, causing developmental, neurological, reproductive and immune disorders in humans.
In the ocean, plastic pollution can kill marine mammals directly through entanglement in objects such as fishing gear, but it can also kill through the ingestion of microplastics.
Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife and human health.
Who is Most Affected by Plastic Pollution?
Plastic pollution is a global problem that affects everyone. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics. Nearly every species of seabird eats plastics.
Most of the top three countries affected the most by plastic pollution are developing countries: China at 8.8 metric tons, Indonesia at 3.2 metric tons and the Philippines at 1 metric ton.
Plastic and microplastic pollution is found in all ecosystems, from ocean and coast to mountains, cities and rural areas. Plastic pollution can alter habitats and natural processes, reducing ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change, directly affecting millions of people’s livelihoods.
What Can Be Done About Plastic Pollution?
The problem of plastic pollution is becoming more and more pressing as the years go by. It is estimated that by 2025, 100 million to 250 million metric tons of plastic waste could enter the ocean each year, doing untold damage to marine life and ecosystems. So what can be done about this growing problem?
One obvious solution is to recycle as much plastic as possible. However, only around 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled, so this needs to become a much higher priority.
Another solution is to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the first place. This means using metal tableware instead of disposable plastic at picnics and parties, refusing plastic whenever possible, and using paper or compostable materials instead.
Finally, we need to target single-use plastics such as bags, straws, and packaging which are thrown away immediately after use.
300 Million Tons of Plastic Gets Created Yearly
We’re creating an alarming amount of plastic waste every year- 300 million tons to be exact. And a large portion of that waste ends up in our oceans, polluting the water and harming marine life.
We need to take action to reduce our reliance on plastic and prevent further damage to our planet.
100,000 marine animals die from getting entangled in plastic yearly – this is just the creatures we find!
China is First For Mismanaged Waste and Plastics
China is ranked number one for mismanaged waste and plastics. According to the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, in 2020 alone China produced 60 million tonnes of plastic waste, yet only 16 million tonnes of which was recycled.
This means that a majority of China’s plastic waste is not being properly managed and is instead ending up in landfills or the ocean. This is a major problem because it contributes to plastic pollution, which is a global issue that needs to be addressed.
In their first paper, Jambeck’s team calculated that, in the year 2010, 76% of all of China’s waste had been mismanaged. This is a shocking statistic because it shows just how big of an issue this is.
Not only is China producing a lot of plastic waste, but they are also not doing enough to recycle it. This needs to change in order for the world to start making progress in reducing plastic pollution.