Marine Litter - Time to end the plastic tide
Making progress in conservation is often a series of steps: identify the issue, suggest a solution, get sufficient profile to take action and then the action itself. Blue Planet 2 really gave this issue the profile it so desperately needed because the scale of problem was already well known. Here are some mind-blowing figures:
- In the UK alone we discard 35 million plastic bottles per day. That a staggering 12.7 billion per year.
- 91% of all plastics aren’t recycled.
- Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
- A floating mass of plastics off the coast of California is about 5 times the size of the UK, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea-life six to one.
- It takes 500 – 1,000 years for plastics to degrade.
- Major food retailers in the UK alone gave out 7.6 billion plastic bags before the 5p charge was introduced.
Those statistics show that a great deal of what we throw away ends up in the seas, either through bad management or inconsiderate wastage. 95% of all marine plastics come from just 10 rivers, 8 of which are in Asia, and just 5 countries account for 60% of the pollution – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.
These plastics clog up the sea floor and float on the ocean surface, they get eaten by marine animals, and they get passed on in the food chain to us, either as particles of plastic in the tissue of the animals we eat, or as toxic chemicals in the flesh. Levels are now at crisis point.
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