The Story of Plastic Pollution

When writing your poem or drawing your illustration for our Plastic Pollution Challenge, remember plastic pollution causes many problems, and we want your book to tell the whole story. Focus on one problem.  What is it? Why is it bad? How does it make you feel? Here are some areas of plastic pollution to think about:

1. PLASTIC IN YOUR LIFE

Plastic Stuff

How much plastic do you come into contact with every day? – We have become dependent on plastic in all aspects of life.  The amount of plastic we use is the first problem. Think of all the plastic things you use and own. How could we change this?

2. HOW PLASTIC IS MADE

Plastic Bottles

Plastic chemicals: When plastic is made, many chemicals are added to it to make it bend, or appear transparent or give it a colour. These chemicals can leach from food and drink packaging into the food or water it contains when in sunlight or heat. Scientists are beginning to realise just how dangerous these plastic chemicals are to humans. Think about how trustworthy plastic is.  Is it safe for us?

3. THROWING PLASTIC AWAY – WHERE DOES IT GO?

Unknown

What we do with plastic once we have finished with it: All too often plastic isn’t recycled and not all plastic can be recycled so we have no choice but to throw it away. This is something that needs to be changed by the people who make it! There are so many types of plastic, it can be confusing. The more we recycle the less new plastic we need to make. How much plastic is thrown away? Where does it go?

4. HOW PLASTIC AFFECTS WILDLIFE ON LAND

Hedgehog in Plastic

Discarded Plastic: Plastic litter will begin a journey, blown by the wind or rain into storm drains that lead to our streams and rivers, eventually finding its way out to sea. Along the way it becomes a hazard to wildlife that can become entangled in it or mistake it for food. The plastic can choke the creature or once enough plastic has been swallowed its digestive system becomes blocked and the animal starves.

5. HOW PLASTIC AFFECTS WILDLIFE AND HUMANS IN THE OCEAN

plastic-in-turtles-mouth

Once in the sea the plastic can float for hundreds of years. Plastic is tough.  That is why it is used for so many things and it is this durability that makes it so dangerous. Plastic does not biodegrade but breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until it eventually becomes microscopic particles. Sea creatures from plankton to whales eat the plastic thinking it is food. The chemicals within the plastic are absorbed into the body of the fish.  We humans eat fish from the sea so we eat the chemicals too… What effect will this have on our food chain? What does this mean for us?

6. WHAT CAN WE ALL DO?

TEDx - Great Pacific Garbage Patch Conference

The best thing all of us can do is REFUSE as much plastic as possible. If we don’t create a need for plastic things, then manufacturers won’t make them. They make them because we buy them. If we all make simple changes to our plastic use, together we will send out a very powerful message to the people who make plastic!

  • Carry a reusable stainless steel drinking bottle instead of buying drinks in throwaway plastic bottles when you are out and about.
  • Opt for non-packaged fruit from the supermarket or green grocer.
  • Say ‘NO’ to the throwaway plastic straws, there are now lots of alternative reusable glass and stainless steel straws.
  • Take unwanted plastic toys to the charity shop to lengthen their life span and buy second hand plastic toys reducing the demand for new plastic products.
  • Think of alternatives to plastic party bags filled with throwaway plastic toys.
  • Buy your milk in reusable glass bottles from a milkman.
  • Say NO to chewing gum, it’s actually made from plastic.

For more infomation about entering the Challenge and adding your voice to the message check out our “entries” page.

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