plastics
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plastics

Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

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Waste pickers like this woman in India are disproportionately exposed to the toxins from plastic waste. Caisii Mao / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Plastic pollution isn't just a threat to non-human life like turtles and whales. It's also a major environmental justice problem.

That's the conclusion of a new report released Tuesday from the UN Environment Program and ocean justice non-profit Azul, titled Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution.

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waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

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A plastic bag on the beach at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke, Virginia on Oct. 22, 2011. Caitlin Finnerty / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The state of Virginia is taking a stand against single-use plastics.

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John Oliver attends NRDC's "Night of Comedy" Benefit on April 30, 2019 in New York City. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for NRDC

In his latest deep dive for Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver took on plastic pollution and, specifically, the myth that if we all just recycled enough, the problem would go away.

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New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

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Infants and young children may experience high phthalate levels because they often put plastic products in their mouths. Image Source / Getty Images

By Stephanie Eick

You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They're in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes.

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David Mark / Pixabay

By Douglas McCauley

This article is part of The Davos Agenda.

The year 2050 has been predicted by some to be a bleak year for the ocean. Experts say that by 2050 there may be more plastic than fish in the sea, or perhaps only plastic left. Others say 90% of our coral reefs may be dead, waves of mass marine extinction may be unleashed, and our seas may be left overheated, acidified and lacking oxygen.

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Nzambi Matee told reporters she was "tired of being on the sidelines," and decided to create a solution of her own for commercial plastic waste. Gjenge Makers Ltd.

Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.

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A Coca-Cola bottle pollutes a river in France. Alain Pitton / NurPhoto via Getty Images

In December 2020, a report found Coca-Cola was the top corporate plastic polluter for the third year in a row, meaning its products were found clogging the most places with the largest amounts of plastic pollution.

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A Pennsylvania fracking site. FracTracker Alliance / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Nick Cunningham

The decade-long fracking boom in Appalachia has not led to significant job growth, and despite the region's extraordinary levels of natural gas production, the industry's promise of prosperity has "turned into almost nothing," according to a new report.

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Pexels

By Alex Truelove

We're all culprits in the plastic pollution crisis — and that's by design.

I was reminded of this recently when I ordered a set of carbon filters for my countertop compost bin. (Like most people, I don't care for smelly kitchens.) The package arrived in a layered-plastic bubble envelope. Inside I found another clear plastic bag encasing the filters. Finally, adding insult to injury, each filter was wrapped individually in plastic. That made at least three layers of plastic for each filter.

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assorted-color straws
Meghan Rodgers / Unsplash

Keeping a reusable straw in your purse, pocket, on your key ring, or in the glove compartment of your car makes it easy to skip single-use plastic when you're on the go. In fact, purchasing reusable straws, made from materials like bamboo, glass, silicone, and stainless steel, is one of the simplest ways to reduce your waste.

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