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We humans have a serious trash problem. The plastic waste we produce, in particular, is highly problematic. 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, but only 15 percent is recycled. This stands in stark comparison to the 88 percent recycling rate for steel, and the 63 percent rate for paper. Part of the problem is that plastic does not biodegrade easily. In fact, it can remain intact for up to a thousand years, before finally breaking down into countless, minuscule microplastic fragments. Therefore, it never truly “disappears” – which is an alarming prospect, considering that we only use items such as plastic cups, drinking straws, and cutlery for a few minutes, at most.

It is so easy for us to throw our trash away without a thought as to where it might end up. However, the sobering reality is that the plastic waste we generate takes an enormous toll on the world around us. For example, 8.8 million tons of plastic make their way into the world’s oceans every year. An estimated 80 percent of this comes from land-based sources. The ingestion of plastic kills around 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals each year, while turtles are now estimated to be consuming twice as much plastic as they were 25 years ago. A number of “trash islands” now exist in our oceans, the most well-known of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch … that has already grown twice as large as the entire state of Texas. All in all, 700 marine species are at risk of extinction due to the risk of ingesting or becoming entangled in our plastic waste.

Land animals are adversely affected by our trash too. A shocking photograph recently emerged of a polar bear being forced to live on a mountain of trash, showing that our waste has officially reached even the remote Arctic regions of our planet. Plastic bags, cups, food wrappers, and other items can cause animals to die of starvation or suffocation when they are accidentally ingested. Intestinal blockages caused by plastic have been increasingly observed in both wild and domestic animals.

This heartbreaking photograph reveals just how adversely land animals are impacted by our addiction to plastic.

This Sad Image Reveals the Extent of Our Trash Problem … and the Animals Who Will be Affected

 

Whenever most people think of the ideal environment for cows, an image of wide, grassy fields, with plenty of room to graze and explore, comes to mind. However, the surroundings enjoyed by these cows are far from idyllic. Sadly – unless we humans find a way to curb our addiction to the convenience that plastic offers us – more and more animals will find themselves having to live on trash.

What We Can Do

For more information on the devastating effects our trash is having on the planet, you can check out our articles: Is it Really Worth the Convenience? How Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us; and 5 Ways Plastic Pollution Impacts Animals on Land.

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

HEADERFINAL_09_25_15
Image Source: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

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157 comments on “This Sad Image Reveals the Extent of Our Trash Problem … and the Animals Who Are Affected”

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Jason Smith
1 Years Ago

We should shoot it all into space. Spacefill


Reply
Claudia Bretschneider
1 Years Ago

sometimes i think we are not very evolved ....but there is hope


Reply
Reni Karenda
1 Years Ago

Go vegan


Reply
Ted C
05 Dec 2016

As soon as lions, whales, birds, and all other meat eating lifeforms on this planet go vegan I will too.

Johnny Boom Boom Rüz
1 Years Ago

This mofo should clean a that trash


Reply
Alberto Baylon
1 Years Ago

We are doomed.


Reply
Ted C
1 Years Ago

What about the people affected?


Reply
Nikopol Kirchner
1 Years Ago

This image is from a junkyard in India, you can see the eagles hovering over the trash. People keep cows and have no space for them to graze so the cows roam freely all day, eat crap from dustbins, fuck with stray bulls and return home at night and are milked in morning and are free to leave home again. Indian cows are like very badly behaved girls and the owners are like very liberal parents. I'm sorry about this but I promise I will do something about it on a small scale in future.


Reply
Elin Kristin Knudseth
1 Years Ago

Ann Eva Knudseth


Reply
Ann Eva Knudseth
05 Dec 2016

Forferdelig å tenke på at det er slik det er. Mange dyr som dør pga at de spiser noe plastikk som ligger rundt omkring ? Fortsett å resirkulere, litt er bedre enn ingenting ?

Tatiana Bella
1 Years Ago

Burn it real simple


Reply
Toutoune Corti
1 Years Ago

La COP 21 à servie à quoi ,alors que la planète est une poubelle ????


Reply


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