Every year, 8 million tons of plastic reaches our oceans.
That’s the equivalent of a full garbage truck of plastic being dumped every MINUTE.
No wonder we can’t escape those shocking images of some of the world’s beaches piled waist deep in plastic bottles, bags, old toys, and shattered pieces of electronics.
But it’s not just the beauty of the landscape that’s affected. In marine areas, the mammals, fish and birds are suffering too.
- More than 90% of all birds and fish are believed to have plastic particles in their stomach.
- Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year.
- Research has found that close to 700 species of marine life are facing extinction because of plastic pollution.
- If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.
The issue is that plastic doesn’t break down easily. It takes 500 to 1000 years for it to degrade. And even though countries and organizations around the world are working to ban or decrease plastic use, our consumption of the material is growing.
- Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled.
- 45 years ago, the average person consumed about 2 kilograms of plastic per year. Today, that number has increased to 43 kilograms, and is still going up.
- Canadians throw out 57 million straws every day.
- Nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.
- One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world.
Unfortunately, less than half of those plastic bottles end up getting recycled. And now we know where most of them end up.
We need to do better. And we can do better.
If you’re not already working on reducing your plastic use, here are just a few of the simple steps you can to take to get started:
- Don’t use plastic straws if you’re physically able. Reusable metal or paper straws are a great option if you can’t avoid them altogether.
- Carry a reusable bag so you can avoid single use plastic bags.
- Shop in the bulk section of your grocery store to avoid pre-packaged items. Bring your own reusable containers if the store allows.
- Take your to-go mug when you hit your local coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that allow them. It’s a great way to reduce lids and plastic cups.
- Take your own headphones when flying.
And once you get started down your own path to reducing plastic use, pass on your knowledge to others, especially the young people in your life. The sooner we all start working on a plan together the better off our planet will be.