The problem of plastic pollution
About 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the global ocean each year. That’s the equivalent of a dump truck pouring a load of plastic trash into the ocean every minute, every day. Within 10 years, that rate is expected to double.
It’s no exaggeration that the amount of plastic trash in the ocean could outweigh the total amount of fish by 2050. Rivers and lakes are at least as polluted as the oceans: An estimated 1 billion plastic particles float on the surface of Lake Michigan.
U.S. consumers generate an average 220 pounds of plastic waste per person a year—the highest rate in the world. Most of the trash is single-use plastic—bottles, food wrappers, straws and more.
This debris, whole or in bits, has been found in or has entangled more than 700 species including sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, often with fatal results.
How you can help
Visit www.ourhands.org for examples of what you can do and to support the work of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership.
If you don’t already, carry a reusable water bottle and keep a fold-up cloth shopping bag in your car or tote. Switch to a glass or metal straw. Be mindful of the plastic packaging on products you buy and recycle diligently to keep plastic waste out of the environment.
You can stay up-to-date on the plastics issue by becoming a Sheddvocate. Take action and share your passion for conservation with your personal networks.