Plastic Pollution - The Basics

What exactly is all the fuss about here? Well, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year or so, you have probably been exposed to the issue of plastic pollution. You may have seen heart-breaking images of animals trapped in pieces of discarded plastic or flowing rivers of plastic trash spilling out into the oceans.

Some of the plastic trash collected at our beach clean-ups

Basically, ‘plastic pollution’ is the accumulation of plastic objects in the Earths environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat and humans. Although a lot of focus is on ocean pollution in particular, plastic pollution is also an issue on land (in cities, the countryside, mountains, lakes, …). Unfortunately, due to very poor waste management practices and an unprecedented soar in the use of plastic, the issue has become so extreme that now we are literally drowning in plastic.

Why is plastic in the natural environment such an issue? Plastic does not naturally biodegrade, it can take thousands of years to do so. This is causing many problems for wildlife, as they easily mistake little plastic pieces for food and accidentally ingest them. Once plastic particles have been consumed, they have the ability to spread through the entire food chain. Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating micro-plastics and absorbing their toxins. Naturally, as we consume fish from the oceans, plastic pollution has also become an issue for human health. Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us, YIKES!

Pile of plastic trash collected on World Clean Up Day 2018

What’s more, our society is pretty much obsessed with this material. If you look around right now, you’ll notice hundreds of household (or wherever you may be) items are made by plastic. That’s because it’s a fantastic material that can serve many purposes. The real issue is with the disposal and re-use of the material. Single-use plastic items amount for roughly around ½ of the world’s annual plastic production.

And so, this is more or less our problem. We have a huge production of a material that we are not properly disposing of and it is wreaking havok in our oceans and on land. At Pure Clean Earth, we don’t like to focus too much on the negative, but it is important to be fully aware of the issue. That’s why we’re here! To help offer solutions, alternatives, and create real change in society.

Cleaning up, raising awareness and saving the world

Plastic Pollution – Quick Facts

  • We produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, ½ of which is for single use.

  • There are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.

  • 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year.

  • Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total.

  • Plastics constitute about 90% of all trash floating on the ocean surface.