The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (twice the size of France!) is an example of a visible large-scale symptom of this disease, but in fact it is the micro particles, slowly coming back to take revenge on our species, that are the most harmful. It is no longer a question of cleaning up, but of eradicating the root of the mess by significantly revolutionising the use of plastics and cutting down on the amounts produced.
Plastic bags are one of the biggest contributors to pollution with plastic materials. Each year, 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That’s nearly two million plastic bags used per minute, which is a staggering number. Most of this consumption also comes just from North America and Europe. Our oceans are suffering from estimated 25,000 tonnes of plastic debris right now, and unless we act, soon the beach will only be good as a dump site.
Cutting down on our consumption of plastic bags is both easy, and very challenging. It takes adjusting, but overall, it only adds minor inconveniences into daily life. What people fit into one plastic bag is three, maybe four times less than what a large, reusable & durable shopping bags can fit. And plastic bags themselves aren’t that bad either, if we were to reuse them properly and would stop throwing them out after carrying one water bottle in them. Many people already took to cutting out plastic bags from their life, or cutting out trash entirely. Cities and governments are beginning to understand the problem, and are banning plastic bags. The world is in our hands; let’s not let plastics take over.
Pavel Marek, Year 13.