The Say NO to Plastic campaign in Abergavenny is taking action against plastic pollution, encouraging individuals, retailers and businesses to DITCH or SWITCH –ditch the plastic completely or switch to sustainable alternatives.
Plastic has transformed our lives over the past 70 years. Plastic products and packaging are everywhere. Even clothes, such as fleeces, are made of downcycled* plastic. Plastic is part of our modern lifestyle. It’s strong, waterproof, durable, light, versatile and cheap. So what’s not to like?
Firstly plastic is made from fossil fuel, an irreplaceable resource which took millions of years to form. 15% of oil goes into plastic production and the production process contributes to climate change.
Secondly plastic is causing catastrophic pollution of our oceans and our land. Minute plastic fragments are in our soil, our rivers and the air we breathe. Our once pristine oceans have turned into plastic soup. Plastic persists in the environment for hundreds of years. Scientists estimate there are 50 trillion micro plastic particles floating in the sea causing misery to 100,000 marine animals and seabirds through swallowing or entanglement.
This plastic debris breaks down into tiny fragments the size of plankton which are consumed by fish and whales. Soon there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Even worse the plastic attracts toxic pollutants. All this plastic enters the food chain and ends up in the fish we eat.
The scale of plastic pollution is enormous. 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s. Only 9% of that has been recycled. There may be 12 billion tons of plastic trash out there by 2050.
Sadly we can’t scoop up all the plastic in our oceans. But we can stop adding to it right now. Most plastic litter is throwaway packaging, used once then discarded. Plastic bottles are the biggest culprits. Worldwide 1 million are bought every minute!
What can we do? Avoid single-use plastics such as bottled water and straws. Refuse plastic packaging: reuse and recycle as much as possible.
*cannot be recycled again
Sue Harrison: firstname.lastname@example.org