Plastic is incredibly versatile and long-lasting, finding its way into every corner of our lives. But the very qualities that make plastic so useful also make it a huge problem. Cheap and disposable, plastic has been a symbol of our throwaway culture. As a result, vast quantities pollute our world. Much of it flows into the oceans, turning them into a plastic soup. A truckload of plastic enters the ocean every single minute and UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes every year. With production increasing, that’s set to rise.
But plastic isn’t just a problem for wildlife. The UK produces more plastic waste per person than almost any other country, and a huge amount of it is sent abroad, most of it going to countries that aren’t equipped to handle it. Greenpeace investigators found British plastic waste being dumped and burned in Turkey – on the roadside, near waterways and in the open air, and people nearby have reported serious health problems.