we can fix this.
Plastic never goes away.
Plastic is a material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of all plastic - water bottles, bags and straws - are used just once and thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer. (1)
Plastic affects human health.
Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments. Two broad classes of plastic-related chemicals are of critical concern for human health—bisphenol-A or BPA, and additives used in the synthesis of plastics, which are known as phthalates. (2)
Plastic threatens wildlife.
Wildlife become entangled in plastic, they eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young, and it is found littered in even extremely remote areas of the Earth. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.
Over 260 species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers and death. (3)
Plastic poisons our food chain.
Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating microplastics and absorbing their hazardous chemicals. The tiny, broken down pieces of plastic are displacing the algae needed to sustain larger sea life who feed on them.
Contaminated plastics when ingested by marine species present a credible route by which the POPs can enter the marine food web (4)