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A CONTINET OF PLASTIC

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The pollution of the world’s oceans

The pollution of the world’s oceans by plastic is already one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. Yet we still continue to use more and more of it: over the past 50 years, plastic consumption has increased twenty-fold – from 15 million tons in 1964 to currently around 300 million tons. It has been estimated that this figure will double by 2025. And the unfortunate thing is: around half of all plastic products are only used once before being thrown away. This means that approx. 10 million tons of plastic waste are making their way into the oceans every year, the equivalent of one truckload of garbage being tipped into the sea every minute.

Over 150 million tons of plastic waste are drifting around our oceans today – the equivalent of around the surface area of Central Europe. So in a sense, plastic waste is almost like an eighth continent. Due to the swirling circular currents, the plastic remains accumulates, forming huge plastic islands consisting of the most diverse plastic items, but mainly of bags and PET bottles. In some cases, it will take centuries for them to decompose; 450 years alone for PET bottles.

So our plastic is outliving us over generations and never disintegrates completely. What we’re left with are so-called microplastics, which are smaller than the diameter of a hair. The problem is as simple as it’s alarming: shrimp eats microplastics, fish eats shrimp and fish then ultimately ends up on our plate. That’s how the plastic particles find their way into the human body. Sad, but true: plastic waste has a significant influence on us and our entire ecosystem.

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