Plastic is a material that has been around for a numerous amount of years. It is widely used around the world and its versatility is what makes plastic such a common material. Unfortunately, however, plastic has a downside. Since plastic was designed to be long lasting and durable, it can take hundreds of years to fully decompose, and in the meantime can be very damaging to the environment. Marine animals are know to consume microplastics by mistake, which can lead many health complications. In addition, microplastics have a significant impact on toxicity levels in water As of now, approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are occupying our oceans, weighing up to 269,000 tons.
How Plastic Can Affect You
Currently, there are many devices that are deployed in our oceans to help with this growing problem, however, most of these technologies mainly focus on the collection of the plastic rather than what is done with the plastic post - collection. Although extracting the plastic is a crucial step to purifying the ocean, it defeats the purpose if the plastic ends up in a place that also negatively affects the environment. In truth, only a small percentage of plastic is recycled per year. For instance, in 2018, the US recycled approximately 8.7% of the plastic waste it produced. That means that the remaining 91.3% likely ended up in landfills or worse, in the habitats of marine life. If these statistics are this low in the US, it can be inferred that the percentage of recycled plastic waste is much lower in underdeveloped countries. If the world continues to produce more plastic waste at the rate it currently is, and nothing is done in order to combat this issue, then the days of marine life are numbered.