There’s a lot we could tell you about plastic and its impact on our planet. Here are 10 facts to explain why tackling plastic pollution is so critical.
- The world produces over 400 million tonnes of plastic every year – of which half is made for single use (source: UN Environment). And at current rates production could see a four-fold increase by 2050.
- Of all the plastic waste that has been generated in the world, around 9% has been recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% is in landfills or the natural environment (source: The Guardian)
- Eight million tonnes of freshly discarded plastic ends up in our oceans every year – by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in our sea by weight (source: UN Environment)
- If plastic consumption increases at its current rate, by 2050 there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfill or the natural environment (source: Science Advances).
- Three-quarters (73%) of all beach litter is plastic. The litter includes filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers (source: National Geographic)
- Plastics consistently also make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris with recent studies revealing marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined (source: Surfers against Sewage)
- Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches (source: Surfers against Sewage)
- Plastic bottles are now the number one source of waterway pollution in Europe (EarthWatch Europe/Plastic Oceans UK)
- Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes and then can take 500 years or more to decompose (source: The Center for Biological Diversity)
- However, in the UK, the introduction of a 5p plastic bag charge in 2015 has brought about an 83% reduction in plastic bag use (source: Ecowatch) – showing that government legislation to curb plastic
Graph taken from www.darrinqualman.com