Plastic is one of the biggest problems for the environment in the UK today. Studies reveal an estimation between 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic entering oceans through rivers annually. Some of these top contributing rivers can be found in Asia, contributing up to 67% of all plastics flowing into the ocean from rivers around the world.
The last 70 years has seen a dramatic increase on demand for plastic. Shockingly around 300 million tons of plastic is being produced globally every year, half of this is being used for disposable items. 8 million tonnes of this plastic then ends up in our oceans every year, once there it is there to stay.
Plastic is favoured for use in a wide range of industry due to its durability. This is good for suppliers and end users but extremely bad for the environment. This durable material begins its slow breakdown into smaller pieces when exposed to sunlight or extremely warm temperature. Since the ocean is beyond freezing, this breakdown process takes that much longer, meanwhile more and more plastic continues to be discarded and ending up in the sea.
Businesses are starting to introduce sustainable initiatives and considering their environmental footprint. Despite the efforts in play to replace plastic within the next 15-35 years, the problem continues to worsen at an alarming speed. As it stands, there is an island of plastic in the ocean three times the size of France. Situated between Hawaii and California, this plastic-land is noted to be the largest accumulation of plastic in the ocean ever recorded.
Fortunately small companies are leading the way with innovative green solutions. Progress can be slow especially with predictions that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish…