This year, June 5th was named “World Environment Day” by the UN and the theme for the day was “beat plastic pollution”. All over the world, people are feeling more than ever the quintessential need to reduce humanity’s negative impact on the planet. One of the ways in which the global community is attempting to fight back against the gradual destruction of our home is to slowly ban single use plastics.
Shopping bags were one of the first big single-use plastics to be addressed as a problem worldwide, and we are currently in a global process of phasing them out. While there isn’t a definitive answer to how many countries have banned the use of plastic bags, almost 100 countries or regions have adopted some kind of phasing-out policy. These can vary from a complete ban to a small tax or charge when someone uses a plastic (or paper) bag at a market.
- Plastic pollution in the ocean is very harmful to marine life, but also to human life. Plastic floating together with trash on the ocean absorb dangerous pollutants that can spread disease, and carry them all over the world. Other than this, microplastics are popping up more and more in our salt and seafood, as plastic becomes increasingly infiltrated into the marine food chains.
- Through aerial surveyance, we’ve managed to discover that in some areas of the world, upwards of 40% of plastic waste floating in the ocean are derived from the seafood industry (lots of plastic nets and discarded fishing equipment), so phasing out seafood from your diet (or buying local and staying informed) is another really important step towards diminishing our plastic pollution of the oceans.
- Plastic packaging accounts for 40% of all the plastic usage in the world. So switching to products that are packaged with paper or other biodegradable components also goes a long way.
For more facts on this subject check out the sources for this article, which include the Plastic Oceans website, that is filled with eye-opening facts that can help you make more informed consumer decisions.