Earth Day – 22 April 2018: End Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is a serious environmental problem that we face today. It impacts the environment, our health and our wellbeing. Almost without knowing it we have all contributed to this problem, and now we must work together to reduce and ultimately end plastic pollution.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering beaches and landscapes to clogging waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.

Earth Day 2018, themed End Plastic Pollution, is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to change human attitude and behaviour toward plastics and pollution.

“Plastic was invented in 1907 and was considered a breakthrough. Plastic products soon became the norm. For many years we enjoyed the benefits of these products and knew little of the damaging consequences for human health, natural ecosystems and the climate,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).

“Plastics pose a problem mostly because they are not biodegradable and to discard of the used products brings with it huge challenges,” says Penfold.

Did you know?

  • Most of the plastic that has been made over the years is no longer in use, but exists as litter.
  • 8,3 billion metric tons of non-recycled plastic has been produced to date, generating 6,3 billion metric tons of plastic waste.
  • Only 9% of that waste has been recycled, while 12% has been burnt. The remaining 79% of plastic waste has accumulated in landfills and the natural environment.
  • 12 billion metric tons will enter landfills or the environment by 2050 if current production and waste management trends continue.
  • All the waste in our oceans now consists of 60 to 80% plastic, reaching 95% in some areas, according to research.
  • Plastic pollution can be harmful to your health due to chemicals leaching from some plastics used in food and beverage storage.
  • Plastic pollution exacerbates climate change.

“Plastic is very versatile and we use it every day while handling common household products and packaging. It is a large part of our economy, but while it makes our lives better in so many ways, at the same time it holds grave danger for humans and the environment.

“You can make a difference by not littering plastic, by avoiding plastic packaging when you can use glass or paper instead, and even by picking up plastic waste in your direct environment,” says Penfold.

Working together we can make the earth a better and safer place for all.

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