Every minute, one million plastic bottles are purchased around the world. As many as 91% of them are not recycled. Instead, they end up in landfills, where they decompose for up to 1,000 years. Those bottles that don’t make it to the landfill are most likely to pollute the oceans, poisoning the environment and injuring and killing marine animals. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is believed to cover an area of 1.6 million square kilometers, three times the size of France. The next time you think about buying a drink in a plastic bottle, think again.
Plastic bottles the most common type of waste
Plastic in recent decades has become a staple of convenience and modern lifestyles. Plastic is cheap, extremely versatile and suitable for many applications. That also makes it a global environmental problem – according to an EPA report, every piece of plastic ever made still exists. More than 380 million tons of plastic are produced each year, and production is expected to increase by 40% over the next 10 years. About 50% of this plastic is used only once and then discarded – for humans it’s only a few moments, but for the planet at least a few hundred years. Beverage bottles are one of the most commonly discarded plastic wastes. In 2016. Around 480 billion such bottles have been sold worldwide – that’s one million bottles per minute.
How long does a plastic bottle decompose?
The bottles are usually made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which naturally breaks down over 400 years and is highly recyclable. The average time for complete decomposition is about 450 years, and sometimes it can take up to 1,000 years.
Plastic in the ocean
It is estimated that more than 10 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. If nothing is done about it, then By 2050. there will be more of them in the oceans than fish.
Plastics that enter the oceans can be ingested by marine animals. Recent research indicates that the amount in seafood is growing – a study by Belgium’s Ghent University found that people who regularly eat seafood consume up to 11,000 each year. small pieces – microplastics. Another study, conducted by Plymouth University, found that1/3 of all fish caught in the UK contained small pieces of plastic.
How many plastic bottles are in the oceans?
The number in the sea is unknown, but more than 10 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. It’s the equivalent of a garbage truck dumping plastic into the ocean every minute. There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste in the oceans, with 269,000 floating on the surface. tons, and under the surface – 4 billion microfibers per km².
- The most common items found in the ocean are: cigarette filters (32%), food packaging (9%), bottle caps (8%), tableware (6%), plastic bottles (6%), and plastic shopping bags (5%).
- By 2030. We will be pouring the equivalent of two garbage trucks full of plastic into the ocean every minute, a figure that will double by 2050.
- Studies estimate that plastics account for 60% to 90% of marine pollution.
Plastic waste statistics
Plastic waste statistics show that people have already polluted every beach in the world. Scientists have discovered microbeads of plastic embedded even deep in Arctic ice.
- Each year 380 million tons of plastic are produced, which weighs as much as the world’s population. Only 50% are single-use plastics.
- 70% of our plastic trash sinks in the oceans, 15% can be found on the water, and another 15% ends up on beaches.
- By 2050. The amount of plastic in our oceans will outnumber the number of fish.
- Only 1 in 5 plastic bottles is recycled.
- It is estimated that more than 150 plastic bottles litter every mile of all beaches in the UK, yet they continue to be discarded. It is believed that the world’s beaches have about 5,000 pieces of plastic pollution per square mile.
The best way to solve the problem of plastic water pollution, besides cleaning up the oceans, is to change behavior and habits, which means reducing plastic consumption in the first place. This means looking for alternatives and using plastic only when absolutely necessary.
- Considering the reuse of water bottles may be a solution other than recycling them.
- Start using reusable stainless steel bottles, better for health and the environment.
- Help raise awareness by informing friends and family about the environmental impact of bottles.
- Source alternatives. It’s not just plastic water bottles that affect nature. Find household items such as soap and cleaning products that come in environmentally friendly packaging.
- Make sure you recycle the plastic.
The main solution is to educate and inform people about the impact plastics have on the environment and the health of future generations. Along with education, a change in consumer behavior can occur.