The history of plastic

The history of plastic

Since the invention of plastic in the fifties, about 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced. To visualize that for you, this is the weight of a billion grown elephants. That is 2.5 thousand times as many elephants as there are left in the world.

Photography Credit: Anastasja


Anyway, back to elephants. Uh... plastic.

There are many different types of plastic, so let's look at single use plastic in this post, as 40% of all plastic waste is single use.

Plastic is made from oil, with - for example - one plastic bottle using 1/3rds of its content for its creation. Twice the amount of water is used to create said bottle and three times the amount of carbon dioxide is released for its production. I'm not (yet) going to be looking at the CO2 footprint of its transport, so let's go straight into what happens when we're done with our 'beloved' single use plastics. Only 9% of the amount of plastic produced has been recycled, 12% has been burnt and the rest is still somewhere on this earth, strangling (ocean) wildlife, clogging up sewage systems and releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

How does plastic end up in our oceans you ask? Well, people chuck their rubbish in the bush, cigarettes on the streets and flush their tampons - and YES, those contain plastic.

The wind and rain make sure all these pieces fall through the sewage grates blocking our sewers. They overflow into the rivers and end up in our oceans.

Is this not bleak enough for you? During this process, plastics are exposed to sunlight, releasing greenhouse gases, causing even more harm to the earth's eco systems. The plastic is slowly breaking up, with tiny little pieces we can barely see - called microplastics - ending up in the rivers and eventually being eaten by our friends in the ocean. Its hurting the wonderful ocean wildlife. A lot of the ocean's creatures we want to eat, which means plastics end up in our bellies.

It's extremely difficult to research what consuming microplastics do to us humans, but for the sake of it, let's say this cannot be good for us.

So, if you're a litterer, FUCKING STOP IT. Because everything is connected.



National Geographic
National Geographic

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