It seems that everyday a new government, company, or institution is announcing a way they plan on tackling plastic. Recently, San Francisco Airport banned plastic bottles, Dasani announced aluminum water cans instead of plastic bottles, and Canada announced a plan to ban single-use plastic by 2021. Well, there’s a reason everyone is scrambling to reduce the amount of plastic we use, and that is plastic pollution. The environment, especially the ocean, is cluttered with plastic and it only seems to be getting worse. It’s harming wildlife and humans’ health, but humans rely far too much on single-use plastic and at this point it’s nearly impossible to avoid.
Progress is slowly being made, but environmental activists have long understood the direction we were heading in. Over the last few years, we’ve covered this topic extensively in hopes of raising awareness on plastic pollution and inspiring people to make more conscious choices. Here are 10 of our top articles on the topic to help you understand everything you need to know about plastic pollution.
1. Is it Really Worth the Convenience? 6 Ways Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us
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For something that is supposed to be quick and convenient, there is nothing quick or convenient about the complete lifecycle of a plastic object. It spends a mere fraction of its existence actually serving a purpose. And the rest of the time, you’ll find, it is actually a nuisance and threatens the health of the environment, animals, and even people. How so? Read Is it Really Worth the Convenience? 6 Ways Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us by Malorie Macklin.
2. 5 Realities About Plastic Pollution That Won’t Go Away Until We Do Something
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Our dependence and ceaseless use of plastic has led us into a plastic pollution catastrophe, where each of us on average produces 4.3 pounds of trash a day. This is 1.6 pounds more than most produced back in 1960. Now the important question arises, where does it all go? Read 5 Realities About Plastic Pollution That Won’t Go Away Until We Do Something by Marina Qutab to understand where plastic goes and the urgency of the situation.
3. These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash … Here’s How We Can Help
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We have only begun to see the far-reaching consequences of plastic pollution and how it affects all living things. According to a study from Plymouth University, plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species, while some estimates suggest that at least 100 million marine mammals are killed each year from plastic pollution. In These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash, Corrine Henn tells us what we can do to help!
4. 5 Ways Plastic Pollution Impacts Animals on Land
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Plastic waste that never makes its way to the ocean still ends up being very dangerous to both wild animals and domesticated ones. And the impacts felt by these animals closely mirror their marine brethren. They can suffer from various forms of entanglements as well as accidental consumption which may be deadly. This can be a heartbreaking topic, but it’s important to address for the sake of animals everywhere. To learn more, read 5 Ways Plastic Pollution Impacts Animals on Land by Malorie Macklin.
5. Why We Need to Wake Up and Do Something to Tackle Plastic Pollution in the Oceans
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Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century and enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. So, where does most of this plastic end up? The ocean — around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land and most of that is plastic. We are treating the ocean like a trash bin with devastating consequences not only to marine life but the entire planetary ecosystem. That’s why Why We Need to Wake Up and Do Something to Tackle Plastic Pollution in the Oceans, as Michelle Kelly explains in this article.
6. More Than Just Trash… How Chemicals That Come With Plastic Pollution Harm You and Animals
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In addition to the commonly known problems of plastic pollutants for wildlife (e.g., starvation, gut obstruction, entanglement), the sublethal issue of chemicals in these plastic pollutants in the marine environment lingers. The chemicals, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are pervasive and effortlessly pass from animal to animal via different levels of a food web while increasing in concentration (bioamplification). Read more about it in More Than Just Trash … How Chemicals That Come With Plastic Pollution Harm You and Animals by Orietta C. Estrada.
7. 5 Documentaries That Will Make You Rethink Single-Use Plastics
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Reading about plastic pollution getting you down? If you aren’t as interested in reading much more about it and want visual explanations that you can share with your friends and family to make a big impact on their choices, check out Greenpeace’s Elaine Thompson‘s list of 5 Documentaries That Will Make You Rethink Single-Use Plastics
8. 700 Marine Species Might Go Extinct Because of Plastic Pollution
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In this article, Kate Good explains five ways we can all help marine animals. 700 Marine Species Might Go Extinct Because of Plastic Pollution so it’s critical that we do our part to save them!
9. Can Plastic Be ‘Biodegradable’?
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‘Biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ plastics are heavily marketed as greener alternatives to standard plastic (click here to learn more about the difference between the two). However, it is important to be aware that ‘biodegradable plastic’ is a loaded term, as it very much depends on the environment to which the material is sent after use. Can Plastic Be ‘Biodegradable’? Aisling Maria Cronin breaks it down for us using a relevant study in this article.
10. 10 Simple Actions That Just Might Save Our World’s Oceans From Plastic
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Marine plastic pollution is also the result of hundreds of little choices we all make every day at the individual level. Read Malorie Macklin‘s 10 Simple Actions That Just Might Save Our World’s Oceans From Plastic to learn a few simple ways we can drastically cut our contribution of plastic pollution to our oceans and be superheroes to whales and fish everywhere!
How to Reduce and Avoid Plastic
Not sure where to start but want to do your part? Check out these helpful resources:
- 10 Ways to Adopt a Zero Waste Lifestyle This Earth Day!
- Ultimate Guide to a Zero-Waste Backpack or Purse!
- 10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture
- 20 Switches to Get Plastic Out of Your Life Starting Earth Day!
- Follow These 5 Tips and Live Waste-Free Nearly Every Day
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