The Problem With Plastic
Posted by George Galbraith
Policy-makers and the public understand that plastic pollution is a pressing issue. Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental problems the UK needs to tackle.
Did You Know
An estimated 7 billion plastic bottles are used annually in the UK, according to the Environmental Audit Committee.
One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide. By 2021, this figure is expected to rise by 20%.
To Make Matter Worse.....
In the UK, RECOUP has claimed that every day an additional 15 million bottles are dumped, landfilled or incinerated. This is thought to produce up to 233,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.
The most commonly found item in our rivers is the plastic bottles. And are among the top 10 items most frequently found on beaches across Europe. For every mile of beach in the UK there are now over 159 plastic bottles.
Microplastic .... Not So Fantastic
When plastics enter our seas they breakdown into small pieces called microplastics. These microplastics are found all through our seas. They are an after effect of normal water disintegration and daylight separating the plastic into minor particles. A solitary plastic microbead can be one million times more poisonous than the water around it.
The effect on our wildlife is becoming devastating. Plastic pollution kills 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds every year!
Food For Thought
After eating small fish and plankton, microbeads enter the food chain. Shockingly, around 11,000 plastic particles are ingested each year by the average UK seafood consumer. Plastic impacts the food chain there. Not only that, but alarmingly, plastic affects seabirds and mammals worldwide.
Ingested plastic has found in nearly 92% of records of animal-meets-sea waste. Microplastics affect these animal's system of metabolism and reproduction. And ultimately contributes to the extinction potential of species.
Refill. (2020). The problem with plastic | Refill | finding a solution to plastic pollution. [online] Available at: https://refill.org.uk/the-problem-with-plastic/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2020].