Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. There are various ways of joining and celebrating the day, you can become a member or create an event. To learn more about Earth Day and how you can contribute to the cause you should visit the dedicated website.
To celebrate Earth Day 2022 we want to share a few facts on plastic pollution.
- An estimated 583 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2021. That is 100 billion more than were produced just five years ago.
- The amount of single-use plastics used globally has tripled since the start of the pandemic, with takeout orders driving the increase.
- Each year, enough Bubble Wrap is created globally to cover the distance between the earth and the moon.
- Around 380 million metric tons of plastic are being produced yearly.
- Humans use about 1.2 million plastic bottles per minute in total. Approximately 91% of plastic is not recycled.
- Five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually. It can take up to 1,000 years for a bag to disintegrate completely. By switching to reusable shopping bags, we can eliminate that waste– which amounts to about 307 bags per person.
- At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Many countries lack the infrastructure to prevent plastic pollution such as sanitary landfills; incineration facilities; recycling capacity and circular economy infrastructure; proper management and disposal of waste systems.
- When plastics end up in landfills, they aren’t harmless. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.
- The amount of plastic trash that flows into the oceans every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons.
- There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.
- There are five massive patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. These huge concentrations of plastic debris cover large swaths of the ocean. One patch, in particular, known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” covers 20 million square kilometres of water.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight).
- As of 2021, there are at least 363,762,732,605 pounds of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
- Many animals at the base of the food chain eat microplastics. These animals are then consumed by others than humans eat.
- Each year, about 1 million tons of tiny plastic fibres are released into wastewater.
- A single fleece jacket sheds up to 250,000 microfibers during a single wash. Microfibers from synthetic fibres have been shown to make up the majority of human material found along the world’s shorelines, accounting for up to as much as 85% of the total.
Read more facts on the Fact Sheets page of Earth.org and take a look at all the interesting research.
Happy Earth Day!