9-Minute Video Overview of the Great Plastic Soup in the Pacific Ocean.
In the N. Pacific Gyre, marine samples show plastics outweigh plankton by 6:1. Between 60-80% of marine trash is plastic - 80% of which comes from land-based debris. The U.S. alone produces 120 billion tons of plastic annually. Less than 5% of plastics are being recycled.
Plastics are inherently toxic, become more toxic in marine environments, and leach toxins over time. Among the toxins under study, phthalates and Bisphenol-A are endocrine disruptors, estrogen mimics, insulin inhibitors resulting in diabetes, and carcinogens, resulting in tumors of the mammary glands and prostate. As plastics break into smaller pieces, they are ingested by marine life and enter the food chain.
Marine animals and birds eat free floating plastic instead of food. These plastics remain in the digestive tracts of the animals and birds making it difficult to get the right nutrients and causing starvation.
Plastics do not biodegrade. Except what has been burned, all plastic ever made still exists somewhere today.
Plastic production consumes 10% of petroleum produced in the U.S.