Plastic is firmly established in the lives of most people on Earth, but few know what kind of environmental disaster it could lead to in the next century. This is what we will discuss in this issue.
Surprisingly, over the past 65 years, mankind has managed to produce 8 billion tons of plastic, which for example is equal to the weight of 80 thousand Eiffel towers or 1 billion adult elephants. The main problem here is the fact of disposability of such products. The absolute majority, and to be precise, 91% of plastic cups, bottles and other products will never be recycled, but will rot in landfills or float in the world’s oceans. These data are cited in their study by a team of scientists from National Geographic.
According to satellite observations, plastic waste is not only in the immediate vicinity of the human habitat, but also in the Arctic Ocean. There have already been counted at least 300 billion pieces of plastic of various sizes, which form peculiar traffic jams and do not have the opportunity to exit, thereby poisoning the lives of local animals, accumulating in the same place for decades.
According to statistics from 2014, 30% of all plastic waste in Europe was recycled on average, in China no more than 25%, and in the US this figure does not reach even 10. Unfortunately, there is nothing to say about Russia, since we have no officially published data on the processing of plastics. At the same time it will be important to note that there are not so many ways to get rid of it. The fastest and most barbaric will be burning, but this will lead to huge emissions of harmful substances. If we talk about processing, when used products become new as a result of grinding and remelting, then this process still costs significantly more than the production of new plastic products.
In conclusion, we would like to say about the Large Garbage Stain, which is located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. Over the course of this, a huge amount of plastic and other human waste has been carried. According to scientists, the spot takes from 700 thousand to 1.5 million square kilometers. Here, plastic does not completely decompose, but turns into microscopic fibers, which sooner or later get into the food of marine life, poisoning the entire ecosystem of the planet and leading it to a slow but guaranteed extinction.