With around 8.8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year and 83 percent of the world’s tap water being polluted with microplastics, no one can deny the very reality and severity of plastic pollution of our planet. One of the things that make alleviating, let alone solving, this burning problem difficult, is that many different parts have to come together to make it possible. What we need is global concentrated cooperation – not only from individuals but also governments and corporations who make large-scale moves that influence the amount of plastic produced and thrown away.
“Our world is choking on plastic,” Greenpeace writes in a petition on Care2, aimed at getting corporations to start contributing to the efforts towards ending the plastic waste crisis. Every minute of every hour of every day, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic enters the seas. The plastic waste, once it is is the waters, stays there virtually forever, since it does not biodegrade. Scientists estimate that if we continue discarding plastic on this scale and rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by the year 2050 – just over 30 years from now.
Already, the plastic entering the oceans has an immense and profound impact on a number of organisms – including humans. Considering that the majority of tap water in the world contains plastic microfibers, in a way we are ingesting what we throw away. This is even more true of people who consume seafood since fish consume plastic because they are drawn to its smell. Plastic is being ingested by a huge number of marine wildlife, which, alongside entanglement, is one of the two biggest risks the waste poses for animals. It is estimated that ingestion of plastic kills one million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals every year. Plastic trash is also not free of dangerous chemicals – the persistent organic pollutants (POPs), it contains pass effortlessly from animal to animal via different levels of the food web and increase in concentration.
As Greenpeace points out, big corporations like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and McDonald’s all have a role to play in the scenario we now find ourselves in. “We are sold coffee, soda, chips, candy, sandwiches, shampoo, face wash, and soap contained in plastic that we have no choice but to throw away,” the petition states. Alternatives, although raising in popularity, are still difficult and in some cases practically impossible to find. Considering the current state of the plastic pollution of our planet and home, it is time for the corporations to look towards exploring new options when it comes to packaging and steering away from single-use plastic.
Click here to sign the petition for the CEOs of the companies to do their part to end the plastic pollution crisis by working towards introducing an environmentally friendly packaging for their products!
To learn how to minimize your plastic waste footprint, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Thue/Wikimedia Commons