Since its production began to take off in the 1950s, plastic has found its way into almost every aspect of human life given its low production cost and versatility. The problem? Plastic takes 450 years (or never) to decompose. Carried by the currents, plastic debris accumulates in large patches in the oceans. It can even be found in the Marina Trench 11 km below the ocean surface. Micro-plastics, bits of broken-down plastic, can be found everywhere in the ocean. Waking up to the environmental consequences of plastics, countries and companies are looking into ways to reduce consumption. Coca Cola, which used over 120 billion plastic bottles in 2017, has pledged to collect and recycle and equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030. PepsiCo, Amco and Unilever and other multinationals are aiming to convert to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. More than 60 countries around the world have introduced policies to curb plastics pollution. Over 200 have signed a UN resolution to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea. The EU has voted to enforce a complete ban on single-use plastics by 2021. Indonesia, the world’s second largest contributor to ocean plastic after China, has pledged to reduce plastic waste by 70% by 2025.
Did you know?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a plastic accumulation zone where plastic waste drifting in the ocean gathers. This floating island of garbage is three times the size of France. There are four more such zones around the world (albeit of smaller size).