Plastic contamination is not only limited to land, it has also been identified in rivers, lakes, and oceans as micro-plastics and micro-beads. Microplastics are pervasive in the environment. Some water samples collected from Lake Ontario have up to 6.7 million plastic particles/km2 (about 7/m2), with the highest count occurring in Humber Bay, Toronto * [MOE]
Due to their small size, micro-plastic is a great risk even to the smallest organisms at the base of the food pyramid. Plastics can leach chemicals and/or attach to pollutants commonly found in water, which can induce endocrine disruption, genetic mutations, and cancer in organisms**[ECO]. The consumption of plastic waste may introduce toxic compounds into the smallest organisms which will eventually work its way up the food chain and eventually end up on our dining table some day.
Plastic has made our life extremely convenient however it has come at a cost. Most plastic products are of one-time-use with over 40% being plastic packaging. Since the vast majority is non-decomposable plastic, this is creating an environmental hazard.
The latest research shows that global plastic production is amazingly high. Over 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic products were produced in the past half century. Over 70% of these plastic products have been abandoned as garbage with more and more plastic waste filling up landfills every day. Researchers urge the clean up of this "plastic planet”. Experts estimate that Earth will accumulate a total of 34 billion metric tonnes of plastic products by 2050.
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