Plastic pollution has become a serious problem affecting the marine environment. This year’s main action focus of World Oceans Day, celebrated each year on 8 June, is to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. Hence, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) calls for elimination of single-use plastics as a first step to beat plastic pollution.
Plastic packaging accounts for about half of the plastic waste in the world. The most common single-use plastics found in the environment are, in order of magnitude, cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags, and foam take-away containers. (The State of Plastics Report 2018 @UNEnvironment)
Much of the plastic produced globally is designed to be thrown away. Up till 2017, an estimated 8,300 million metric tons (Mt) of virgin plastics have been produced. As of 2015, only around 9% had been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current production and waste management trends continue, it is predicted that roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050 (Geyer et.al).