Plastic is a relatively new material to the world, and as a result, we’re still learning what happens to it over time. It’s an incredibly durable material, and it doesn’t rust or biodegrade, which is why we’ve produced so much of it.
But the very features that make it so useful to humans make it dangerous for the rest of the world, and it turns out that about 10% of the plastic we use each year ends up in the oceans. While a lot of this is the stuff you’re thinking of — six-pack holders choking pelicans, for example — most of the plastic actually hardens under the constant exposure to sunlight and seawater and cracks up into millions of tiny, equally durable pieces.
The YouTube channel MinuteEarth looked into the problem with this short video, and one thing is clear: If we keep throwing away plastics without recycling them or making them biodegradable, we’re just going to keep adding more of this plastic “confetti” to the oceans.
Something you can easily do to help prevent more of this pollution is to cut back on using plastic grocery bags — bring your own environmentally friendly bags — and make sure you recycle your plastics as much as possible.