plastic pollution |

Buffalo, NY — Technology has been a double-edged sword. In many ways, his advances have made our lives easier, but there have been negative effects as well.

Plastic is a prime example. Single-use plastic products are some of the worst sources of pollution in the world, and most of them end up in oceans and lakes.

Kristi Levitt is Oceana’s Plastics Campaign Director. “Every year, 33 billion pounds of plastic is dumped into the ocean. That’s how much two garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the ocean every minute. That’s every minute of every hour of every day.”

Credit: Surfaces

Plastic pollution affects all kinds, all over the world.

Oceana is an international organization founded in 2001. They focus on ocean conservation, and in the case of single-use plastics, Levitt says they have more than just their hands. “Unfortunately, as plastic production grows, and grows at a rapid rate, increasing amounts of plastic will be found in our oceans, waterways, and communities, and this will have devastating consequences.”

Plastic is cheap to make, plentiful, and very slow to degrade. It’s a dangerous combination that affects all forms of life. “Plastic doesn’t biodegrade like some other products do,” Levitt explains. “Like paper bags, they will degrade over time. Plastic, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but those pieces are going to stay there for a very long time.”

Credit: Terry Belk

22 million pounds of plastic are dumped annually in the Great Lakes region.

Microplastics are found everywhere, from remote regions of Antarctica to isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Great Lakes region is no exception, Levitt says. “More than 22 million pounds of plastic ends up in the Great Lakes region each year, and the concentration of plastic in the surface waters of the Great Lakes is among the highest in the world. Because unlike our oceans, which flow fairly freely around the world, the Great Lakes are It’s a closed system, so the plastic stays there.”

Credit: Surfaces

Marine life suffers greatly from the effects of plastic pollution.

Recycling alone will not get us out of this dilemma. Solutions start with awareness and personal responsibility. “The solutions really make sense.” thought Leavitt. “We just need to stop producing so much unnecessary single-use plastic, and move to reusable, refillable containers and systems. In a lot of ways it’s back to what previous generations did, but we can improve on that because we have more technology. ”

To learn more about Oceana, and what you can do to help, click here.

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