13 Jan A glimpse of the world plastic pollution crisis
Much of the planet is polluted with discarded plastic, which is
harming both animal and human health.
Did you know, every second more 225kg of plastic make their way into our
oceans, thereby affecting eco systems, marine life, the food chain and the very
air we breathe. It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the
ocean by 2050!
One of the most pressing environmental issues today is plastic pollution. As of
2018 about 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced worldwide each year of
which single-use plastics (such as plastic bags and food wrappers) account for
approximately 40%. Single-use plastics have a lifespan of mere minutes to
hours, but them may persist in the environment for hundreds of years.
Plastics by the numbers (according to National Geographic)
Some key facts:
Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15
Production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tonnes in 1950 to
448 million tonnes by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.
Every year, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste escapes into the
oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage
bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.
Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and
durable. But many of these additives can extend the life of products if
they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to
How plastics move around the world
Most of the plastic rubbish in the ocean flows from land. Trash is also carried to
sea by major rivers which pick up more and more trash as they move
downstream and carry it to the sea like conveyor belts. Once at sea, much of the
plastic trash remains in coastal waters. But once caught up in ocean currents, it
can be transported around the world.
Harm to wildlife
From birds to fish and other marine organisms, millions of animals are killed by
plastics every year. Most of the marine deaths to animals are caused by
entanglement or starvation. Whales, turtles, seals and other animals are
strangled by discarded six-pack rings and abandoned fishing gear.
Microplastics have been found in numerous aquatic species destined for our
dinner plates. They have also been consumed by land-based animals. Tests have
confirmed liver and cell damage and disruptions to reproductive systems. These
tiny bits of plastic pass through the digestive system and are mostly expelled
without consequence. However, plastics have also been found to have blocked
digestive tracts or pierced organs, causing death. For many marine animals,
their stomachs have become so packed with plastics that reduce the urge to eat
and they starve to death.
Plastic pollution in the air we breathe
Rainforests are responsible for roughly one-third (28%) of the Earth’s oxygen
but most (70%) of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants.
The remaining 2 percent of Earth’s oxygen comes from other sources. Plants in
the ocean (such as phytoplankton, kelp and algal plankton) produce the oxygen.
One type of phytoplankton releases countless tonnes of oxygen into the
atmosphere. This strain of phytoplankton is considered the most abundant
photosynthetic organism on the planet – it is estimated that this provides the
oxygen for one in every five breaths we take.
Stemming the plastic tide
Once in the ocean, it is difficult to retrieve plastic waste. Once plastics break
down into microplastics and drift throughout the water column in the open
ocean, they are virtually impossible to recover.
What can we, as individuals, do?
We, at OpticalRooms were wondering how we could make a difference and
worked to find a way to help our patients choose responsibly. We have teamed
up with a worldwide example of a circular economy that recycles marine plastic
and converts it into high quality fashionable glasses and sunglasses – “upcycling
Sea2See, based in Barcelona, work with Catalonian fishermen across the region
to bring in an average of 1,000 kgs of abandoned gear and plastic every few
days. The waste consists of discarded plastic fishing nets and the rubbish that
has gathered within them. There are an estimated 373 deaths per day (seals,
dolphins, sea lions, whales etc) due to this abandoned and discarded fishing
gear. The waste collected is sent to a factory to be hand separated, cleaned and a
selection is made of plastic waste to be recycled. The plastic materials that can’t
be used to make the frames are passed on to other companies who can make use
of them. Between 9 and 10 kgs are needed to make each stylish frame. The
plastic waste is transformed from 100% waste to beautiful handmade frames
made in Italy.
Around our planet, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious
and expect ecologically friendly materials, a conservation minded use of
resources, reduced emission of pollutants and greater social commitment. This
range of glasses offer sustainable solutions to contribute to the conservation of
Buying these glasses helps remove waste from the water, which in turns helps
the eco systems, marine life and the food chain. It also helps encourage growth
of the phytoplankton ocean plants which, in turn, can help to produce more
oxygen which would assist in the battle to restore the Ozone layer and reduce
Don’t you want to choose a product that can have such an enormous impact on the overall health of our plant?