Plastic Pollution Problem Grows

Reducing plastic pollution requires urgent attention.The promotion of recycling gives false assurance that it is alright to keep using plastic in our everyday lives.

Plastic Pollution Problem Grows

International researchers are warning that the global plastic pollution problem is growing and may be nearing the point of no return.

Most people are aware that there are huge amounts of plastic waste now, much of it in the environment.

However, the majority of people think if they recycle their plastic waste this will solve the problem. There are no current uses for most plastic waste. Only about 9% of all plastic produced is recycled. It is cheaper and more profitable to just manufacture new plastic.

Despite rising awareness of the issue, plastic pollution is still trending upwards with a heavy reliance on single use plastics.

Plastic manufacturing contributes to global warming

Manufacturing plastic from fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Continuing our excessive use is not in line with reducing emissions. Plastic pollution is becoming increasingly obvious and will be a major problem in the next few years if nothing changes.

“Plastic is deeply ingrained in our society, and it leaks out into the environment everywhere, even in countries with good waste-handling infrastructure.”

Matthew MacLeod – professor Stockholm University

What is the cause of the problem

Political and economic factors are key drivers of plastic manufacturing and pollution. Although there is growing awareness that plastic pollution is a major issue, the sheer convenience and low cost ensures its continuing widespread use.

The scale of plastic environmental waste is very visible in under developed countries who have little or no recycling or waste facilities. In the developed world, we are able to ignore the bigger picture. Plastic pollution is more hidden and has not yet impacted on the majority of peoples lives.

The promotion of recycling gives false assurance that it is alright to keep using plastic in our everyday lives.

Micro plastic is a threat to our health and the environment

Plastic breaks down incredibly slowly, so continues to accumulate and is exposed to the elements. It weathers and breaks down into micro plastics which are impossible to eradicate from the environment.

These tiny particles have been found practically everywhere in nature — even inside human organs

“So far, we don’t see widespread evidence of bad consequences, but if weathering plastic triggers a really bad effect we are not likely to be able to reverse it,” MacLeod warned in a statement. “The cost of ignoring the accumulation of persistent plastic pollution in the environment could be enormous.”


Its time for urgent action

Reducing plastic pollution requires urgent attention. Governments need to step up and put caps on the production of virgin plastic. Recycling much more plastic into new products which will keep plastic out of landfill and the environment. Export of plastic waste should only happen if it is to a country with better recycling.

This blog adapted from an article –  By Victor Tangermann

Read More: Global Plastic Pollution May Be Nearing an Irreversible Tipping Point [Stockholm University]

Check out a previous blog on reducing plastic waste

Reduce plastic – go to shop

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