Single-use plastics, shipped across the world by rich nations, whole Europe included or sold by multinationals, may cause up to a million deaths a year.
This is according to a report backed by Sir David which says children playing around plastic waste are twice as likely to get intestinal bugs like cholera – the second biggest killer in under-fives.
A damning report led by charity Tearfund has called for action, as Britain alone exports 650,000 tonnes of plastic waste a year to countries including Malaysia and Indonesia.
Experts have also named multinational companies, whose sachets and plastic bottles are causing particular problems in the developing world.
Sir David Attenborough, who presented the report on the 14th of May at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, said plastic waste is an ‘unfolding catastrophe’, adding: ‘This report is one of the first to highlight the impacts of plastic pollution not just on wildlife but also on the world’s poorest people.
95% of the waste floating in the Mediterranean Sea is plastic, and 9 out of 10 seabirds have fragments in the stomach.
Yes, the planet drowns in single-use containers. Every year, 100 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into nature and one tenth of it ends up in the sea. If this rhythm of production and consumption of plastics is maintained, in 2030 there will be 40% more in the world. A lot of attention to the conditional “if the rhythm is maintained”, because we are in time to change the trend.
The data that surround the abusive contamination by plastic are scandalous and, in addition, difficult to hide: it is everywhere and I mean everywhere and its presence can no longer be disguised. It represents 95% of the waste floating in the Mediterranean, mostly from Turkey to Spain, but also from Italy, Egypt and France. The concentration in this same sea, to give a concrete figure, is 1.25 million fragments per kilometre, a level almost four times higher than that of the “plastic island” of the Pacific.
90% of seabirds have fragments in their stomach. A study carried out by two British universities highlights that all the mussels studied, coming from the British coasts and the rest of the world, contain synthetic remains. And it is estimated that about 100,000 marine animals die each year: turtles, for example, confuse bags with jellyfish and die choked.
Most sea fishes which we eat have tiny bits of plastic in their stomachs.
Choking to death.
It’s undeniable. We are immersed in a plastic crisis. The only way to reverse the situation and survive the waste is to act now. The European Union has already taken action on the matter and in 2021 single-use products, such as straws, sticks, cutlery, plates or glasses, will be banned. But it is in our hands not to let two years go by, to opt for individual solutions and to demand governments ambitious objectives of pollution reduction.
There are many action we can do from right now. Take your own shopping bag, refuse plastic bags in your shopping, throw away plastic utensils in your kitchen. etc etc.
The WWF have declared war on plastic a long time ago. To remember the urgency to act, on June 8, Day of the Oceans, they launched an underwater action in the Atlantic Museum of Lanzarote, where some members submerged to denounce the great threat posed by this type of pollution in our oceans. The action consisted of “trapping in plastic” the submerged sculptures at 14 meters deep as a symbol of what awaits us if we do not change the trend.
This complaint is part of the campaign # NaturewithoutPlastics, with which they ask the Government to act against the excessive use of unnecessary plastics and hope on the thoughtfulness of citizenship on the need to take small daily decisions that can do much for the planet.
What can we do?
It is not always easy to avoid the enormous amount of containers and containers that we have nearby, but little by little we can avoid those that are not really necessary. There are already many solutions and alternatives for containers, containers or everyday utensils made with other materials, such as wood, cellulose, glass or biodegradable materials.
And if you want to join more people who are as concerned as you are and want to ask the Government for more ambition, join #SynaPlastic.