I've been doing environmental education and outreach for over 10 years now. I remember the first time I heard about plastic pollution. Most of the information was referencing this "plastic island" that was twice the size of Texas. I remember feeling outraged that no one was going in and cleaning this up! Thanks to the amazing work and scientific research of 5 Gyres, we know now that there is no island but rather something more akin to plastic smog.
Plastic breaks up but never breaks down. What is a seemingly innocous material, has so many consequences and harmful impacts! For a long time I thought I was doing the right thing as long as I threw my recyclables in the magic blue bin, not understanding that less than 9% of what I was throwing in there was actually getting recycled. I was even more shocked to learn what we were doing with our plastic waste. Now that Asian countries are no longer taking our plastics, they're bringing light to the fact that we've been exporting our waste to countries that have little to no waste infrastructure in place. We also seem to forget that most plastic is made out of oil. This brings another host of environmental and social justice issues along with contributing directly to climate change. To make matters worse, there's more and more research coming out showing how this plastic is everywhere, from the bottom of the ocean floor to our bodies.
While awareness is growing, plastic production is expected to increase in a big way. The time to make changes is NOW! Please help me raise funds to continue doing plastic pollution education and outreach, inspiring people to make changes in their daily lives and demanding that our government and industry eliminate unneccessary plastic waste!