Plastic garbage is a widely recognized source of pollution. Finished products made of plastic are often non-biodegradable, so their disposal creates irreversible environmental damage in land and water.
Plastic manufacturing involves using hazardous chemicals like benzene and vinyl chloride, which can threaten health, safety and the environment. However, the disposal of plastic products, especially bottles, has created a global environmental crisis, which requires immediate preventive action.
Plastic bottles and other waste are dumped in landfills, rivers and oceans, which contaminate soil, water, marine life and the air. Plastic waste also clogs drainage systems and urban sewers.
Pollution from plastic waste is visible and deadly, but it is also preventable. We cannot prevent manufacturers from using plastic, but we can help reduce disposal waste with sensible reuse and recycling.
Facts about Plastic
The North Pacific Gyre (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch)
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a ring of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N. Many scientists suggest that the patch extends over a very wide area, with estimates ranging from an area the size of Texas to one larger than the continental United States. Recent data collected from Pacific albatross populations suggest there may be two distinct zones of concentrated debris in the Pacific.
The North Pacific Gyre has exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Ocean. The Gyre is composed of billions of small trash islands, many of which are underwater and spread out over many miles, which makes it difficult to study.
Ninety percent of all garbage floating in the world’s oceans is plastic. In 2006, UN environment programs estimated that every square mile of ocean contained at least 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Floating in the surface layer are plastic products, drift nets, tires, plastic bags, packing straps, and common household items like deodorant bottles. One suspected spill of plastic bags was measured to have covered ten miles of ocean.
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