Every year, 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide, because plastic is cheap, light, unbreakable and durable. For the most part plastic is made from non-renewable petroleum or natural gas. More than 600 billion plastic bags, which are produced annually all around the world, use up 2 billion litres of crude oil alone! But above all, plastic is toxic. Approximately 6 million tons of plastic ends up in the seas each year, and have especially grave consequences. This plastic waste slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller particles. Plastic bags take 20 years to degrade, plastic bottles 450 years and fishing nets almost an inconceivable 600 years!
There is now six times as much plastic than plankton in the oceans. Where gigantic floating garbage dumps have collected in sea vortexes, the ratio of plastic to plankton is 40:1. During the processes of disintegration, the toxic substances contained in plastic are consumed by marine creatures.
- Cut down on disposables.
- Buy consciously: Prefer natural and long-life materials; do not buy any care products with microplastic (e.g. in body peelings or toothpaste)… more
The accumulation of toxins grows in the food chain with the increasing size of the fish ending up on our dinner plates, eventually. For this reason, reduce disposables, use reusable bags made of cloth or paper and use glass instead of plastic containers. You can find further recommendations in our brochure Plastic – Lethal Threat in the Ocean.
Solution approaches that we follow with interest:
A 2015 study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) surveyed 60 cities of India and estimated that in 2011-12 India generated approx. 26.000 tons of plastic waste daily. This is why India, the second most populous country in the world, will ban single-use plastic from 2 October, 2019. Single-use plastics (SUPs) are those that […] Read on...
Plastic waste is now so ubiquitous that not only are our oceans filled with it, but plastic particles have now been detected in the air high up on the Rocky Mountains of the United States, falling with the rain. How did it get there? Plastic micro-particles are so small they can be carried in water […] Read on...
8.3 billion tons—that is how much plastic has been produced worldwide since 1950, half of it in the last 13 years alone. But of all this plastic, only about 30 % is still in use, while the rest has been disposed of. For although 99 % of plastics are produced from the valuable and non-renewable resources of oil, natural gas and coal, plastic has become a cheap disposable product. 95 % of plastic packaging is used only once, after only one month half of the plastic has become waste. Of the approximately 6.3 billion tons of plastic discarded so far, only 9 % has been recycled (mostly downcycling to lower quality products), and 12 % has been incinerated, but 79 % has ended up in landfills or in the environment.
The oceans are the greatest water reservoir of the Earth and the fish of the oceans are the main source of nourishment for one billion people. However, the oceans today are far from being intact and clean. They and all the life within them are in great distress. On a daily basis we are poisoning this unique world more and more with stuff from our everyday lives that we no longer want, use excessively or use without thinking about the consequences. Are we even aware of this? We need the oceans and the oceans need us!
A life without plastic? Difficult to imagine: Where we look, whatever we do, whether we play, work, eat or undergo medical treatment – plastic is our always present, practical companion. As material, plastic offers convincing advantages: It is easy to shape and dye, can be soft and hard, is low density and is therefore light and is resistant to acid and caustics. Also it is comparably cheap. It is, however, these seemingly pleasant qualities that are causing a global problem. A problem of an extent far beyond our imagination.