Plastics: The Big Picture

Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

What does the data show?

Our World in Data is a non-profit website that brings together the data and research on the powerful, long-run trends reshaping our world: Through interactive data visualizations we show how the world has changed; by summarizing the scientific literature we explain why.”

According to Our World in Data,

  1. How much plastic does the world produce in a year?
  2. About how much have we produced all together?
  3. What happens to most of our plastic?
  4. How many times can most plastic be recycled?
  5. How much plastic ends up in the ocean?
  6. What percentage of plastic waste comes from packaging?
  7. Which countries produce the most plastic waste?
  8. How about per capita? (Look carefully!)
  9. How much plastic waste does Japan produce per capita? (Look even more carefully!)
  10. The last slides says, “If we all do a little, we’ll only achieve a little.” What does that mean? Do you agree? Why or why not?

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