So what if we′re plastic addicts? | eco@africa | DW | 29.07.2016
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Eco@Africa

So what if we're plastic addicts?

It's official, we have a hardcore plastic habit. We buy to throw away. And then we buy more, and throw that away too. Isn't it time to stop and think about easing up or quitting altogether. A little inspiration...

Every year, we collectively throw away enough plastic items to circle our entire planet an incredible FOUR times. Pile that up and you see the scale of the problem.

What happens to our plastic bottles when we throw them away? Unless we recylce them, chances are they end up in landfill, where they can take as long as 450 years to decompose. Yep, 450 years. That means they will still be lingering when our great, great, great grandchildren - and then some - are walking the earth.


Who wants to swim among plastic debris? At least eight million tons of plastic waste land in the ocean every year, and according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if we continue at our current rate, there will be more of the stuff in the sea by 2050 than fish.


But we at least have a choice about whether or not we get into plastic-contaminated waters. Marine life does not, and scientists at the University of Plymouth say as many as 700 species are facing the threat of extinction because of our plastic habit.


Plastic bags are one of the biggest problems. They are used for just 25 minutes, and the average European gets through some 500 every year!!


Plastic is made using oil, which is not only a finite resource, but is dirty and leaves mass environmental destruction in its drilling wake. More plastic has been produced in the last 10 years than ever before, and at current levels, it will account for 20 percent of oil production by 2050.


And now for some good news! In many places across the world, there are recycling initiatives in place, which mean your old plastic could be given a new lease of life - as part of a novel construction system for housing in India, for example.


Or a rug to put on the floor of said house, or any other, made using traditional weaving techniques at a studio in Cairo.


Or turned into a work of art that reflects the place the recycled trash - in this case, a beach in Oregon, US - was found, as a means of raising awarness about the need to think twice, perhaps even three times before discarding what we buy. Or perhaps before buying it in the first place.

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