In an article published on January 24, 2016 by the digital edition of The Guardian, journalist Robin McKie reports on a new study illustrating the impact of plastic pollution on planet Earth. According to the study, enough plastic has been produced since the Second World War to coat the Earth entirely in clingfilm. Plastic has spread across the entire planet, including the ocean floor, remote islands, buried underground in landfill sites, the food chain, and even the polar regions, McKie writes. The remains of water containers, supermarket bags, polystyrene lumps, compact discs, cigarette filter tips, nylons, and other plastics are polluting ecosystems in the form of lumps or microscopic grains, McKie explains. “This is not a sign that our planet is in a healthy condition,” stated Jan Zalasiewicz, lead author of the study and professor of palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, UK. Most of the impact of plastic pollution on the environment is harmful, McKie further notes. Seabirds, turtles and other wildlife become entangled in plastic and drown or choke to death, McKie explains. “The trouble is that plastic is very slow to degrade, so we are going to be stuck with this problem for a long time,” Zalasiewicz concluded.
Robin McKie (January 24, 2016). “Plastic now pollutes every corner of Earth.” The Guardian
Zalasiewicz, J. et al. (2016). “The geological cycle of plastics and their use as a stratigraphic indicator of the Anthropocene.“ Anthropocene (published online January 18, 2016).