Our plastic pollution problem has reached new heights and new depths. Scientists have found bits of plastic on the seafloor, thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. Plastic debris has also washed ashore on remote islands ; traveled to the top of pristine mountains ; and been found inside the bodies of whales, turtles, seabirds and people, too. Tiny plastic particles are now ubiquitous and insidious. And the mounting pollution that swirls in ocean gyres and washes ashore on beaches poses a big threat to wildlife and ecosystems. So too, does the production of that plastic. A number of recent studies — not to mention articles and essays published here in The Revelator — have helped pinpoint just how bad things have gotten and also what we can do about the problem. Here’s what you should know about plastic: 1. There’s a lot of it. In a September study published in Science about the growth of plastic waste, an international team of researchers estimated that 19 to 23 million metric tons — or 11% of plastic waste generated — ended up in aquatic ecosystems in 2016. And even with countries pledging to help cut waste or better manage it, […]

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