What’s the challenge?
Plastics have become an integral part of our daily lives with virtually everything we do and much of the food and drink we consume involving the use of plastics in some form or other. However our throw away society is polluting large areas of the world’s oceans with plastics, threatening marine life and food chains. How did it get there? What are the practical solutions? And is it time to re-evaluate how we use and reuse plastic?
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) held a panel discussion on 13 October 2010 to discuss the issue.
6 million plastic bottles of water are bought each day in the UK
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be bigger than the size of the State of Texas.
1997 – The year that Captain Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He is an American yacht-racer who was sailing home across the North Pacific from a competition in Hawaii, USA. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch had been predicted as early as the late 1980s
We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago.
86 Kgs: The estimated amount of plastic thrown out per household each year in UK.
Nurdles: Plastic pellets used in plastic manufacturing.If these remain in the ocean, they can accumulate toxins and eventually work their way into the food chain as marine animals digest these thinking they are food.
Source: WRAP, 2010
Hear about this challenge from:
David de Rothschild, Founder of Adventure Ecology and leader of the Plastiki exhibition
Dr Simon Boxall, Oceanographer, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Peter Davis OBE, Director General, British Plastic Federation
Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, Founder of Mission Blue and Explorer In Residence at The National Geographic
Edwin Broni-Mensah, Founder of GiveMeTap
Professor Richard Thompson, School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University
Mediterranean facing plastic crisis, Geographical Magazine, April 2015
North Atlantic plastic accumulation and the flow of international scrap material, Geography Directions, March 2010