WE’RE UP T0 OUR BEAKS IN PLAS­TIC

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion - NICK WHIGHAM

HAUNT­ING new im­ages sug­gest the plas­tic pol­lu­tion we see is just the tip of the ice­berg.

The cover im­age of Na­tional Ge­o­graphic’s June is­sue has al­ready gone vi­ral, as shock­ing shots in­side re­veal the ex­tent of the prob­lem plagu­ing our planet. It comes af­ter sci­en­tists re­cently found a plas­tic bag in the Mariana Trench — the deep­est point in the ocean — nearly 11km be­low the sur­face.

Nat Geo se­nior photo ed­i­tor Vaughn Wal­lace said the cover was “one for the ages”, as the magazine com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing its is­sues in pa­per wrap­pers — rather than plas­tic.

Glob­ally one mil­lion plas­tic bot­tles are bought each minute. Most of them end up in land­fill or in the ocean, along­side plas­tic bags and other pack­ag­ing, where they kill marine life.

Some ex­perts have warned the plas­tic cri­sis is as bad as cli­mate change. One re­port has found that the equiv­a­lent of a garbage truck worth of plas­tic was dumped into the world’s oceans ev­ery minute and that, by 2050, there will be more plas­tic than fish in the oceans.

A se­abird stuck in­side a plas­tic bag, pic­tured in the June Na­tional Ge­o­graphic. Pic­ture: John Cancalosi/ Na­tional Ge­o­graphic

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