Seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem

“This is a planetary crisis… we are ruining the ecosystem of the ocean,” UN oceans chief Lisa Svensson told the BBC this week.

But how does this happen, where is most at risk and what damage does this plastic actually do?

Why is plastic problematic?

Plastic as we know it has only really existed for the last 60-70 years, but in that time it has transformed everything from clothing, cooking and catering, to product design, engineering and retailing.

One of the great advantages of many types of plastic is that they’re designed to last – for a very long time.

And nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today.

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