10 Shocking Facts About Plastic

These photographs were selected from our Your Shot community. Join Your Shot and tag your images #PlanetorPlastic to share your images of plastic use with our community.

PHOTOGRAPH BY RUNE HALDORSEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

01

More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NOEL GUEVARA, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

02

Worldwide, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic: filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SOUMYODEEP MUKHERJEE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

03

World plastic production has increased exponentially from 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million in 1993 to 406 million by 2015.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SOUMYODEEP MUKHERJEE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

04

By 2050, virtually every seabird species on the planet will be eating plastic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PRAVEEN BALASUBRAMANIAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

05

As of 2015, more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or environment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ABDUL HAKIM, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

06

Around the world, nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID HIGGINS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

07

Estimates for how long plastic endures range from 450 years to forever.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DORIS ENDERS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

08

The largest market for plastics today is packaging materials. That rubbish now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally—most of it never gets recycled or incinerated.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAYED HASAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

09

Some 700 species of marine animals have been reported so far to have eaten or become entangled in plastic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID JONES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

10

More than 40 percent of plastic is used just once, then tossed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SAGE SZKABARNICKI-STUART, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT.

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