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According to the United Nations, marine life is facing severe and irreversible damage from the millions of tonnes of plastic waste which ends up in the oceans every year.
But why is plastic so problematic?
The plastic that we know and use today has only actually existed for the last 60-70 years however in that time it has had a transformative impact on everything from cooking, engineering and retailing. And one of the greatest advantages of plastic is that it lasts – for a very, very long time.
In fact, almost all of the plastic ever created still exists, in one form or another, today.
So how much plastic is in our world? It has been calculated that the total volume of plastic ever produced is at 8.3bn tonnes, with 6.3bn tonnes now being waste and 79% in landfills or the natural environment. It’s likely that around 10m tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year.
China has been featured at the top of the list of countries mismanaging their plastic waste as well as the US.
Some countries are now making steps to reduce their plastic consumption, with proposals in the UK including deposit-return schemes and the improvement of free-drinking water supplies in major cities – like London.