To mark World Oceans Day, Kyla Smith of the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce explains how single-use plastics are putting the oceans and the planet at risk. This is the first in a series of articles on the marine environment and pollution
Imagine that the Sea Venture was stocked full with plastic water bottles during its voyage. More than 400 years later these bottles would still be around, floating in the ocean as tiny pieces broken up by sun and waves. We have been accumulating plastic pollution for more than 70 years and continue to produce more every year. Single-use plastic products such as water bottles and food wrappers can persist in nature for centuries. It is unclear how long it will take some plastics to completely biodegrade; estimates range from 450 years to never. These products that we are now dependent on are drowning us. Plastics are one of the biggest threats to our planet’s ecosystems and our very existence.