Plastic is polluting the oceans, piling up with nowhere to go. Today Greenpeace pointed out: “Only 9 percent of all the plastic ever made has been recycled.” More and more companies are trying to make items using recycled plastic, but it’s still not enough. Instead of just recycling, many experts agree it’s time to reduce usage. With this in mind, several cities around the country have banned plastic straws over the last year, but straws are just one small piece of the puzzle. Tom Dowdall from GreenBiz writes:
The problem with plastic is not new. For decades the plastics and packaging industry has combined with food and beverages companies to frame it as a “litter” problem. Individuals littering are the problem, and it’s the responsibility of individuals to fix it. Public concern is effectively funneled to “clean-up” events, while industry lobbyists successfully weaken and postpone any policies that effectively would limit the growth of plastic. As a textbook example of how to effectively avoid responsibility for the ever-increasing amounts of single-use plastic, it has been a huge success. But it has been a disaster for the planet, resulting in a plastic pollution crisis.
The oceans face a massive and growing threat from something you encounter everyday: plastics. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—this is roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute.
Plastics never go away. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, which act as magnets for harmful pollutants. When eaten by fish, some of those chemical-laden microplastics can work their way up the food chain and into the fish we eat.
It’s at a point where awareness is certainly rising. More people are trying to use their own reusable water bottles and cut down on buying bottled water, but there is so much more that can be done. NBC spoke with one woman who is single-handedly hoping to help reduce the use of plastic:
Dianna Cohen is on alert. From the newspaper on her front stoop each morning, to the clothes she will pick up at the dry cleaner, to the lunch she’ll eat, to the shelves at her seemingly eco-friendly health food store — Cohen’s nemesis appears everywhere.
The world seems to be wrapped in plastic — and Cohen is not buying it. She is fighting to lead a life free of plastics, and to get others to do the same.
Watch NBC’s report above and see what you can do to help cut down on plastic.