How Long Does Plastic Last?

I recently saw pictures on the news of all the litter left on some UK beaches after a week long heatwave…during a pandemic!

I, along with many other people, were dismayed and disgusted at the mess left behind by a lot of the beach visitors. I could only describe it as a sea of plastic on the sand.

As plastic has been woven into every part of our lives, I’ve made the assumption that majority of the rubbish is likely to be plastic; food packaging, plastic bags, plastic bottles and how much of this rubbish has already made its way into the sea?

When our everyday rubbish enters the sea, how long does it take to decompose in the ocean? This doesn’t include the damage caused by the micro plastics during decomposition.

According the the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the below shows how long it takes for certain items to decompose.

There are some images of wildlife being tangled up in our rubbish in Greenpeace’s website.

The plastic doesn’t only affect the wildlife, it will also enter our food chain, if it hasn’t already. Plastic bags break into smaller pieces and eventually become micro plastics which will eventually be ingested by fish. It’s inevitable this plastic will wind up on our plates, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern.

I wonder whether this issue will be taken more seriously when the micro plastics we ingest will start affecting our health?

What could micro plastics do to the human body?

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