Sunday, March 11, 2012

Facts About Plastics in the Ocean and What You Need to Know About Them

Addicted to Plastic
  • To date, we use over 248,000 chemicals in commerce and we don't know which ones are harmful or safe. Why? Because the vast amount of research on plastics we use in our lives comes from the plastic industry.
  • Greenpeace estimates that of the 200 billion pounds produced annually, 10% makes it into the ocean.
  • Columbia University Researchers took all the major data sets that exist and calculated 73,878,000 pounds of plastic in the area of the gyres, which accounts for 16 million of the earth's 315 million square kilometers of ocean surface.
  • Americans alone discard 22 billion pounds of plastic a year.
  • To date, 177 species of marine life have been shown to ingest plastics and the number is likely to get much higher as more research is done.
  • 9% of base food chain fish (which represents as much as 50% of the biomass of fish in the entire ocean) sampled in the North Pacific have been shown to ingest plastics.
  • Concentrations of the chemicals in ocean-borne plastics have been shown to be up to a million times higher than the ambient sea water around it.
  • According to the Ocean Conservancy's annual report, 11% of beach litter is plastic bags.
  • Americans consume more than 100 billion plastic bags per year.
  • In 2009, the rate for plastic bag recycling is 6.1%; and in 2010, the rate is 4.3%.
  • From 2009 to 2010, plastics generated in the municipal waste stream jumped from 59,660,000 to 62,080,000 pounds.
  • Coca-Cola is one the world's largest producers of plastic waste.

Quote from Stiv Wilson:
So what's a citizen to do? Unfortunately, cutting through the spin is a difficult task, but as always, when there is a lot of money to be had, injecting oneself with a healthy dose of skepticism about the intentions of chemical companies that manipulate nature for profit is a good start. What's the best solution? Remember this: if you don't consume it in the first place, it can't damage you or the environment.

Avoiding plastics is not just a personal responsibility, it's an environmental mandate and should be as common in our global society as turning off the lights when you leave the room. There is no silver bullet solution to plastic pollution, more like a silver buckshot, but it all starts with you saying two words: "No Plastic."



  1. there must be something that can be done about this! those are some frightening stats.


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