Plastic Free

We need plastic-free choices – Times of Malta

Malta has banned the importation of certain single-use plastics, such as bags, containers and cotton buds. Put into perspective of the enormous environmental damage caused by plastic waste, this is a mere drop in the ocean.

Plastic is a highly toxic material made from fossil fuels. A 2017 global study showed that we created 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste up to 2015. Of this, only nine per cent has ever been recycled and 12 per cent has been incinerated, thus polluting the atmosphere, while 79 per cent still exists in landfills or in the natural environment somewhere on earth where it will continue to contaminate life for tens and hundreds of years to come.

These waste volumes are estimated to quadruple by 2050. In the environment, plastic multiplies by breaking down into smaller pieces, up to sizes too small to measure and that could penetrate the cells and organs of animals, including humans.

Landfilled plastic continues to survive, fragmenting to ever smaller bits. It pollutes by leaching and combustion. The Mediterranean Sea contains one billion metric tons of plastic made up of an estimated 500 billion pieces. At concentration levels of 892,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre, the Mediterranean has the third highest concentration of plastic in the world. All Mediterranean countries are responsible for this pollution.

Most clothes, textiles and fabrics are made from plastic fibres. Every time we run our washing machine, hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibres are flushed down the drain. These microfibres flow wherever