Alarming Facts About Plastic Pollution and Solutions

The world’s oceans are littered with plastic bags, bottles, straws and fishing nets – many of them plastic – which pollute its waters and endanger sea life ingesting microplastics that contain harmful chemicals that accumulate in our bodies over time. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone covers an area three times the size of France.

Sea creatures frequently ingest plastic debris ingested from sea creatures which then ends up back into their food chains as we consume these toxic particles ourselves.

Even the chips in casinos are made of plastics which we can easily skip by playing casino games online via sites such as

Plastic never truly degrades and even those items recycled may return to the environment in the form of microplastics – learn more about the facts surrounding plastic pollution and solutions here.

1. Plastics Pollute Our Oceans

Plastic pollution is an international concern caused by rising consumption and ineffective waste management practices. A substantial portion of this plastic ends up in our oceans due to improper transportation and disposal methods; even garbage that has been dumped properly into landfills will eventually leak back out or sink to water environments, including our oceans.

Plastic trash in our oceans threatens the marine environment and marine life alike, killing sea animals by either being consumed directly or becoming entangled with it, marring beautiful beaches and snorkel/dive sites, and polluting beautiful sea turtle nesting beaches and snorkel sites. Studies estimate that half of all sea turtles, every whale and dolphin species, as well as most seabird species have at some point consumed plastic during their lives.

Plastic has a major effect on climate change. When plastics decompose, they produce greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. Furthermore, the mining and manufacturing of plastics uses fossil fuels that contribute even further to its greenhouse gas emission.

Millions of tons of plastic debris enter our oceans each year through urban stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, littering activities, tyre abrasion and industrial activities – mostly ending up in large ocean garbage patches like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Plastic pollution can be found on shorelines of all continents, with concentrations being particularly prevalent near tourist destinations and densely populated areas. Plastic is so prevalent in our oceans that it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of it all; estimated estimates estimate that more than 15 trillion pieces exist across our marine ecosystem from surface waters to deep-sea sediments alone – that’s five times more weight than fish!

2. Plastics Are Harming Marine Life

Plastics harm marine life in many ways, from killing them outright to clogging up their digestive systems and polluting the ocean with chemicals and toxins. Plastic ingestion has become an estimated annual tragedy claiming one million marine birds and 100,000 sea mammals’ lives; even smaller creatures such as fish, oysters and mussels consume it mistakenly thinking it’s plankton. Plastics also pollute our waters with harmful toxins.

Microplastic pollution in the ocean accounts for the vast majority of plastic pollution. These microscopic pieces come from items like straws, water bottles and single-use plastic bags – and pose particular threats to marine life, coral reefs, seagrass beds and other ecosystems.

Animals that ingest microplastics spread them further up the food chain, endangering marine mammals as well as humans who consume seafood. Plastic can clog stomachs of marine life leading to malnutrition or even death.

Microplastics also pose a health threat due to the chemicals they contain, including those from detergents and cosmetics that they absorb from their surroundings. Over time, this may create dead zones in ocean environments, leaving little oxygen available for survival.

Plastic pollution threatens ocean life and our marine environments, but we can do something about it. By cutting back on consumption of plastic products and going plastic-free wherever possible and encouraging responsible consumption practices, we can help halt this growing crisis. These shocking facts about plastic pollution should provide all of us with sufficient motivation to take whatever steps necessary to safeguard the oceans we cherish so dearly.

3. Plastics Are Harming Human Health

Plastics pose an ongoing threat to human health at every point in their lifecycle, according to a groundbreaking new report released by the Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health. Current patterns of production, use, and disposal harm human health on multiple fronts – from coal miner lung diseases to microplastics entering bloodstreams.

Humans are exposed to plastics and their chemical additives through everyday products, medical supplies, contaminated food sources and airborne microplastic particles. Workers involved with extracting, manufacturing, transporting and disposing of plastics also run the risk of being exposed. Pregnant women, infants and children are particularly susceptible to the chemicals used in plastic production as these are known to disrupt hormones essential for healthy development.

Plastics toxins have long been linked with adverse health consequences in humans, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and asthma. Furthermore, they have the power to disrupt immune systems as well as cause digestive and neurological conditions in individuals. Chemical additives in plastics (PBDE and BPA) have also been linked with reproductive disorders that lead to decreased fertility among female populations.

Poor and marginalized populations are especially impacted by plastic pollution, as they are more likely to live in coastal communities with poor waste management practices and are at greater risk for exposure to toxic chemicals and pathogens.

Fishing and tourism, two industries essential to family incomes, are being put at risk by plastic pollution in rivers, lakes and oceans. Both activities contribute significantly to an individual’s earnings as well as to national gross domestic products; poor waste disposal practices lead to dead zones which deplete oxygen in waters, leading to an accumulation of garbage and debris in these bodies of water.

4. Plastics Are Harming Wildlife

Plastic pollution poses a grave threat to ocean wildlife. From microscopic plankton to majestic whales, animals cannot distinguish between plastics and food and accidentally consume or become trapped within them, leading them to ingestion or entangle themselves in them resulting in millions of animal deaths annually, from marine mammal species like sea turtles to seals or herds of wild antelope.

Plastic attracts and stores organic pollutants such as flame retardants that seep into ecosystems when consumed by marine life, ultimately impacting the food chain and creating health issues in fish we consume. Even tiny plastic microbeads pose health threats; one microbead could contain 100,000 times more toxins than its environment and pose a deadly threat if ingested.

Large pieces of plastic debris such as abandoned fishing nets and lines (known as “ghost gear”) pose an equally severe threat to wildlife. A recent review of hundreds of scientific articles revealed that ingestion is the leading cause of whale, dolphin, seal lion, sea bird mortality due to marine debris. Ghost gear entanglement poses further threats by strangulating animals or cutting off their limbs causing deaths among marine animals.

Plastic pollution threatens coral reefs by altering habitats and killing marine life, leaving corals thinner and less colorful. The Center for Biological Diversity has taken several measures to combat this problem – petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to classify plastic pollution as pollution to calling upon governments to fund cleanup of our ocean garbage patches – we remain dedicated to making sure oceans are treated as natural spaces worthy of reverence.

5. Plastics Are Harming Our Economy

Plastic pollution has become an integral part of nature, from oceans, lakes, rivers, soil, air and even outer space. Plastic never degrades safely but rather breaks down into microplastics and nanoplastics which travel throughout ecosystems across our planet contaminating them as it travels across ecosystems which sustain wild animals, plants and humans alike.

Mountains of plastic waste can be found throughout the world’s oceans, from remote specks of land like Henderson Island (ref) to Mariana Trench in depths up to 30,000 meters (135,000 feet). This accumulation is detrimental to our natural environment and an embarrassment for humanity – yet easily avoidable by making small changes today.

Though heartbreaking images of marine wildlife entangled in plastic waste may be commonplace, the issue goes much further than this. Fish in the North Pacific consume microplastics that contain toxicants that could end up on our plates; similarly, shellfish from Mariana Trench have consumed debris made of plastics as well.

Plastics have an adverse economic impact on society as well. Their production siphons away funds that could otherwise go toward infrastructure development projects, slowing growth and decreasing standards of living for nations worldwide. Furthermore, when unrecyclable plastics are incinerated on beaches or illegal facilities the toxic fumes released can pose a health threat to humans.

No one solution exists to combat plastic pollution, but we can all play our part by switching to reusable products and encouraging others to do the same. One powerful way of doing our part is joining Global Citizen movement; an activist network powered by people like you around the globe dedicated to eliminating poverty and protecting the planet together. Learn more and take action here, sign up for their free newsletter or share this article on social media and join them today.