A culture of disposable goods has become the norm around the globe. When we are thirsty, we buy a bottle of water. When we are tired, we get our iced coffee in a plastic to-go cup. When we are hungry, we order our food to go and it comes in plastic containers, with plastic silverware, and all of this is wrapped up in a plastic bag. But we never stop to think about the far-reaching problems with plastic.
It’s estimated that 300 million tons of plastic are put into circulation every year. Only around 15 percent of that plastic is recycled, the rest of it makes its way to landfill or into our waterways and oceans. There are currently 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the oceans, and we add 8.8 million tons to marine environments every year. At these alarming rates, it’s not surprising that plastic pollution threatens over 700 marine species with extinction. And year after year, the top five plastic polluters are Asian nations.
Experts estimate that around 60 percent of the plastic pollution in oceans today comes from Asia. If current rates continue, Asia’s plastic pollution will increase by 80 percent by 2025 ,and they will be dumping over 200 million pounds of plastic into our planet’s oceans. But one region has decided to make a change. India’s National Green Tribunal (the NGT) has voted to ban all disposable plastics in the nation’s capital, Delhi, by January 1, 2017. The NGT also imposed a 10,000 Rupee (about $150) fine for any food producers caught littering on the streets. This is an incredible step toward cleaning up India’s cities as well as a herculean effort to cut down on the plastic that goes into our oceans.
While this is great news for Dehli, if we hope to make a real change in the amount of plastic impacting the planet, we all need to take action. But there are a few easy things we can do in our daily lives to clean up the plastics that are choking our planet’s oceans.
Bring a reusable tote bag when you go to the grocery supermarket and, if you forget, ask for a paper bag instead of a plastic one. Bring reusable water bottle from home instead of picking up a disposable plastic one while you’re out. And if you need coffee to stay awake through the work day, bring your favorite mug from home – everything tastes better out of a batman mug anyways. For more tips on how you can help clean up our oceans, join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic movement – and start crushing life in general too.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Feature image source: Beawiharta/Reuters