In the past decade the world produced more plastic than in the whole of the last century. We buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute and use 17 million barrels of oil each year just to produce those plastic bottles.
Each year 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean. Some of these plastics can survive in the environment for 500 years.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if big industry doesn’t clean up its act, there will be more plastic waste in the sea than fish by 2050. A single mass of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, dubbed the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ has grown to three times the size of France. As the organisation A Plastic Planet regularly states; “we are all Plastic Addicts”.
To turn this around 69% of One Young World Ambassadors have personally taken steps to be more responsible in the consumption and disposal of plastics in their country. Recycling offers hope. Every ton of recycled plastic saves up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline and the process uses 88 per cent less energy than making new plastic. Ambassador initiatives have also impacted 17,418 people in sustainable production and consumption, from making fair trade chocolate to recycling used sports equipment. ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ was the theme of this year’s World Environment Day.
But do such initiatives amount to ‘too little, too late’?