If you look around any grocery store, shopping mall, or even your own kitchen cabinet, it becomes pretty clear that we generate a huge amount of plastic every year. And bottles, bags, utensils, packaging, and more are just the beginning of it. In the past 30 years alone, the amount of plastic produced globally has increased exponentially, with over 300 million tons of plastic materials coming into circulation every year.

And while we all try to do our best and recycle, we’re sad to say that 85 percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled at all. In fact, 80 percent of land-based trash ends up in the ocean – 90 percent of which is plastic. This affects the lives of 700 marine species, who are now are faced with extinction due to the threat plastic poses to them from entanglement, pollution, and ingestion.

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And if we don’t act soon, this image could be the reality of our waterways:

Photo of Trash River in Beirut Shows Us Why We Need to #CrushPlastic!
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The above image is from Beirut, where there has been an ongoing garbage crisis. When the Lebanese Cabinet canceled plans to export garbage to Russia, the trash flooded the streets. The consequence of the trash overflow has led to mass protests as citizens demand the government find solutions to the problem.

But an underlying problem remains: should the government even be exporting garbage at all? Should we, instead, be changing our habits, refusing plastic, looking for alternatives, and demanding corporations to opt for eco-friendly, recyclable or compostable packaging?

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While this photo reflects the garbage crisis in Beirut, it could just as easily be in New York, Paris, or Beijing. We must take action immediately, lest our rivers start flowing with garbage instead of water!

What Can YOU Do?

While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.

“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.

If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.

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.

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Image Source: NABIL MOUNZER/EPA/CORBIS