The Problem

Deforestation
Plastics
Climate Change

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Global Challenges

  • Forests currently cover about 30 percent of the world’s landmass, but humans are cutting them down, clearing these essential habitats on a massive scale.

  • Between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers) of forest – according to the World Bank – an area larger than South Africa.

  • About 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years. Half of the world's tropical forests have been cleared, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

  • The Earth loses 18.7 million acres of forests per year, which is equal to 27 soccer fields every minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  • It is estimated that 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, according to the WWF.
  • Plastics take a long time to degrade. Scientists say that plastics can take between 400 to 1000 years to decompose. At best, some estimate that it will take a plastic shopping bag between 20 to 1000 years to breakdown. Whatever the case, the likelihood is that the plastic bag, bottle or straw we use today will be around much longer than we will be.
  • Less than 10% of plastics gets recycled. According to a study by peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. The majority (79%) finds its way to landfills while the remainder accumulates as litter. The litter can find its way to the ocean where it becomes plastic pollution.

  • More than 80% of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from land-based sources. Greenpeace says that 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, the equivalent of one rubbish truck every minute. A common part of this is single-use plastic packaging for food and drink. One source of this is the plastic litter left on the beach by visitors. Even trash thrown into canals and drains inland can find their way through the waterways to the ocean.

  • Plastics harm marine life. Plastic bags are easily mistaken by sea turtles as jellyfish and end up being consumed. There have also been plenty of images on the Internet of dead whales and other marine animals whose stomachs have been found to be filled with plastics. Nets lost by fishermen at sea can also turn out to be traps for marine creatures. Plastics can have a detrimental effect on the oceans and the life within.

  • Microplastics end up being consumed by marine animals and can come back to humans. Microplastics are less than 5 mm in size. Sources of microplastics include microbeads from face scrubs, microfibers from clothes and plastic pallets from manufacturing. Their small size makes them easily consumed by fish and other marine animals. Alarmingly, they have been found in the fish that humans eat, table salt and even drinking water.

80% of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from
land-based sources.

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