Planet or Plastic?
National Geographic | May 2018
It’s not unusual to see an iceberg on the cover of National Geographic. But take another look at this month’s cover, and you’ll see there’s something else beneath the surface. Plastic. A lot of plastic. 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. And stays there. MORE THAN 40% OF PLASTIC PRODUCED IS USED ONCE. AND THEN TOSSED. The largest market for plastics today is in packaging materials. Once disposed of, it breaks down into smaller fragments that linger for centuries. AROUND THE WORLD, NEARLY A MILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES ARE SOLD EVERY MINUTE. Plastic takes a tragic toll on our wildlife. Some animals now are surrounded by it. They eat it, get stuck in it and die from it. 100 TRILLION PLASTIC BAGS ARE USED WORLDWIDE EVERY YEAR. The “working life” of a plastic bag is just 15 minutes. And sadly, a single bag can kill more than once in the wild, where it can choke or trap again.