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Plastic Pollution Caused by Corporations

A study had been conducted on 20 November 2018, Tuesday by the ‘Break Free from Plastic’ initiative. As a result of the study, it has been noticed that plastic production has reached 320 million metric tonnes per year.

The study had revealed that Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle are few companies that contribute most to ocean pollution with single-use plastics. This causes environment pollution due to which we see people suffering from cancer, infertility, blindness, defects at the time of birth and many more. Not only this but it also can sterilise soil and affect air and water. The environmental movement was launched in 2016 that had helped clear the coasts of 42 countries around the world of discarded plastics. As per reports, over 10,000 volunteers were found to carry out 239 plastic cleaning actions on coasts and other natural environments in 42 countries during the period between September 9 and 15. They had collected more than 187,000 pieces of plastic, of which more than 65 per cent were from products by Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle. But according to the report, companies such as Danone, Mondelez, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever were also a part of this.  Von Hernandez, the Global Coordinator of Break Free from Plastic, said at the presentation of the study in Manila that “These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis”.  He also stated that “The companies have a choice to make. They can be part of the problem or they can be part of the solution.  If they continue the use of problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging they are just encouraging more production and more pollution". It was found that approximately 100,000 pieces of plastic collected were made of materials like polystyrene, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) or the film of single-use plastic that were not biodegradable. Currently if we see the numbers, the plastic production has gone over 320 million metric tonnes per year and is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next decade as ninety per cent of plastics are produced from fossil fuels and pollutants. This further causes greenhouse gases which are very harmful for all of us. Me Hernandez mentioned that it is high time we all must act to demand that corporate brands reject their over packaging habit in order to meaningfully reverse the demand for new plastic. The study revealed that these large corporations must take initiative and ownership to be responsible for polluting the environment, as production of plastics exposes harmful substances to communities living near factories and pollutes foods and products contained in plastic wraps. Till date only 9 per cent of that plastic had been properly recycled and 12 per cent incinerated.

By: Anuja Arora