It should come as no surprise that plastic waste and pollution has become one of the world’s most pressing environmental crises.
Therefore it is vitally important to generate greater awareness of the plastic problem. This can be achieved by stimulating the discussion around plastic waste and its inevitable pollution.
With that in mind, I have gathered together a few famous, and hopefully thought-provoking, and inspirational quotes to stir a quiet mind on the subject.
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27 Plastic Waste And Pollution Quotes
Craig Leeson is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, television presenter, and public speaker. He is the founder of Leeson Media International and Ocean Vista Films and Chairman of the I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival.
Rosalind “Roz” Savage MBE FRGS is an English ocean rower, environmental advocate, writer, and speaker. She holds four Guinness World Records for ocean rowing, including the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.
Ashlan Gorse Cousteau is an American entertainment journalist. She is known for her work with E! News, Discovery Channel, and Travel Channel. She married Philippe Cousteau Jr. in September 2013, and they have produced and appeared together in several educational and environmental television programs.
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Carlo Ratti is an Italian architect, engineer, inventor, educator, and activist. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the MIT Senseable City Lab, a research group that explores how new technologies are changing the way we understand, design, and ultimately live in cities.
Chai Jing is a Chinese journalist, former television host, author, and environmental activist. In 1995, Chai began her broadcast career as a radio host in Hunan Province.
Following China’s ban on imported plastic in 2017, previous large exporters such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK have failed to handle the increase in domestic plastic recycling demand. As such, some materials intended for recycling have subsequently been diverted to landfills.
Woodrow Tracy Harrelson is an American actor and playwright. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who frequently featured as an author and speaker in the mass media during the 1960s and 1970s.
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is an English actress, model, and activist. Born in Paris and raised in Oxfordshire.
David Takayoshi Suzuki CC OBC FRSC is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster, and environmental activist. Suzuki earned a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961 and was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001.
In 1950 the world produced only 2 million tonnes of plastics per year. By 2015, annual production had increased by nearly 200-fold, reaching 381 million tonnes.
Dr. Nues Escobar is an Agricultural Engineer by training, majoring in environmental and natural resource management. She holds a Ph.D. in Food Science, Technology and Management, from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), with an International Ph.D. Mention.
Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is an English primatologist and anthropologist.
Edward Everett Hale was an American author, historian, and Unitarian minister, best known for his writings such as “The Man Without a Country,” published in Atlantic Monthly, in support of the Union during the Civil War.
This next decade will be critical if we’re to rediscover balance with the natural world, our home.
– David Suzuki
The burning of plastics can produce several toxic gases: incomplete combustion of Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), and Polystyrene (PS) can release carbon monoxide (CO) and noxious emissions, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can produce dioxins.
Such gases can be toxic and dangerous to both human and ecosystem health. The incineration of plastic also produces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is a primary driver of global climate change.
I could not confirm the author of this, but it is a quote worth thinking about. And a platform for every political party, federal or provincial.
However, I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting. – @Ola Betiku was posted on Twitter by Tid Bits and Wits on March 9, 2013.
American illustrator Ola Betiku probably created the quote with the image below.
L. John Doerr is an American investor and venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins in Menlo Park, California.
His success in venture capital has garnered national attention; he has been listed on Forbes magazine’s exclusive “Midas List” and is widely regarded as one of the world’s top technology venture capitalists.
Kevin Norwood Bacon is an American actor. His films include the musical-drama film Footloose, the controversial historical conspiracy legal thriller JFK, the legal drama A Few Good Men, the historical docudrama Apollo 13, and the mystery drama Mystic River.
In the mid-2000s, Frederikke Magnussen became aware of the fast escalating problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. She was one of the key catalysts behind the self-funded and 8-year production of the first documentary feature on ocean pollution – A Plastic Ocean.
Knowing that a braver and radically different approach was vital to accelerate the pace of change in the world’s attitude to plastic, Frederikke Magnussen joined forces with Siân Sutherland in January 2017 to launch A Plastic Planet.
Sophia Anna Bush is an American actress, activist, director, and producer. She starred as Brooke Davis in The WB/CW drama series One Tree Hill and as Erin Lindsay in the NBC police procedural drama …
Of the plastic waste produced between 1950 and 2015, only 9 percent was recycled.
Deonie Allen studied environmental science and engineering in Australia before moving to Scotland, where she completed her Ph.D. Her research has focused on human-made pollutants and the way these pollutants influence environmental health and ecosystem function. Her current research focuses on microplastic pollution in the air, water, and soil;
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Craig Leeson began his career as a newspaper journalist before moving to television as a news correspondent and anchor. Craig has worked with major global broadcasters, including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, PBS, and Australia’s ABC.
Deonie Allen researches atmospheric and terrestrial microplastic occurrence and transportation in the past, the present, and the future. She is also a co-organizer of the United Nations (GESAMP) workshop investigating airborne plastics that enter and leave the oceans.
Charles Hilary Moore, Baron Moore of Etchingham is an English journalist and a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, and The Sunday Telegraph;
An estimated 20% of all plastic waste in the oceans come from marine sources. In some regions, marine sources dominate. More than half of the plastics in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ (52%) come from fishing nets, ropes, and lines.
Studies show that people ingest the equivalent of a plastic credit card every week. And the impacts of plastic pollution on oceans are a major threat to marine life and human health and survival — not unlike the impacts of fossil fuels, from which plastics are made.
Climate change is the challenge of our time. Fortunately, we have solutions to drastically reduce climate-disrupting emissions. Together, we can work toward cleaner air, healthier communities, and a more stable Canadian climate.
Annie Louise Leonard is an American proponent of sustainability and a critic of consumerism. She created the animated film The Story of Stuff, which describes the life cycle of material goods. In 2014, she became the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.
Every year, half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean, equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles.
(Microfibers cannot be extracted from the water, and they are spreading throughout the food chain).
A Spotlight On Plastic Waste And Pollution
Plastic waste and plastic pollution have dominated the headlines since the late 1990s, primarily because plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade and can remain chemically toxic during this time.
In particular, marine life is especially vulnerable to this toxic plastic attack because we dump millions of tonnes of plastic waste into the oceans each year.
This is done either deliberately or accidentally, and the best estimates suggest that approximately 80% of ocean-going plastics originate from land-based sources.
Only the remaining 20 percent are from marine sources.
These sources include private shipping, both large and small, and fishing fleets leaving behind fishing nets, lines, ropes, and buoys.
Some plastic pollution even comes from abandoned vessels dumped into the sea to avoid the huge scrappage costs.
In fact, a Greenpeace report (Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans, 2006) stated that the world produces 260 million tonnes of plastic per year, and around 10% of this ends up in the oceans.
This plastic then breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces due to environmental effects and is ingested by marine life.
It is estimated that 100,000 ocean-going mammals and 1 million seabirds die from plastic ingestion each year.
Shockingly, due to the long lifespan of plastic, any marine life that dies from plastic ingestion might not be the only victim. Plastic, dependant upon climatic conditions, can survive for hundreds of years. Thus, it will find new victims and continue to do so long after the previous victim has rotted away.
However, Even though we know all this, plastic production has not slowed down.
In 2015 it was estimated that global plastic pollution was approximately 380 million tonnes. And by 2015, the world had produced 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic.
27 Plastic waste and pollution quotes (Quick read, no pictures).
1. “What we want everyone to understand is that there is no away. Plastic is the most durable material man has ever made, and every piece ever produced is still on the planet in some shape or form.” – Craig Leeson
2. “It cannot be right to manufacture billions of objects that are used for a matter of minutes and then are with us for centuries.” – Roz Savage
3. “Forget bottled water; tap water is just as good! Pour it into a reusable water bottle, and always have fresh water on the go without wasting plastic.” – Ashlan Gorse Cousteau
4. “The plastic bottle we’re throwing away every day still stays there. And if we can show that to people, then we can also promote some behavioral change.” – Carlo Ratti
5. “The strongest governments on earth cannot clean up pollution by themselves. They must rely on each ordinary person, like you and me, on our choices, and on our will.” – Chia Jing
6. “I think on a personal level, everybody, when you go through the checkout line after you get your groceries and they say, paper or plastic? We should be saying, Neither One, We should have our own cloth bags.” – Woody Harrelson
7. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
8. “As consumers we have so much buying power to change the world just by being careful in what we buy.” – Emma Watson
9. “When plastics break down into smaller pieces, they’re more difficult to clean up, and marine animals often digest the pieces, which is killing them in ever-increasing numbers.” – David Suzuki
10. “Plastic bags are bad and, for the most part, unnecessary. Many of us older folks remember a time, only a few decades ago, when we didn’t have them.” – David Suzuki
11. “Bio-PE and Bio-PET are, for example, NOT biodegradable. Same as their petroleum-based counterparts.” – Dr. Nues Escobar
12. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
13. “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Everette Hale
14. “Outright bans on plastic bags may not be the best solution, but education and incentives to get people to stop using them are necessary.” – David Suzuki
15. “I don’t want to protect the environment. I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protection.” – Unknown (Ola Betiku?)
16. “It does seem really hard to get customers to do the right thing. It is stupid that we use two tons of steel, glass, and plastic to haul our sorry selves to the shopping mall. It’s even more stupid than we put water in plastic bottles in Fiji and ship here.” – John Doerr
17. “We are being choked to death by the amount of plastic that we throw away. It’s killing our oceans. It’s entering into our bodies in the fish that we eat.” – Kevin Bacon
18. “Researchers say if we don’t clean up our act, the oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050.” – David Suzuki
19. “If you go outside with a UV light set at a wavelength of 400 nanometers, you’ll see all kinds of plastic particles in the air fluoresce. It’s almost worse indoors. It’s all a bit terrifying.” – Deonie Allen
20. “I can even choose my gender, but I can’t choose to be plastic-free when I go shopping.” – Frederikke Magnussen
21. “To me, I think that people who don’t think it’s a big deal to toss a plastic bottle in the garbage are not only irresponsible, but I think they’re being disrespectful of all other human beings on the earth.” – Sophia Bush
22. “In Tuvalu, they can’t bury their plastic because the atoll is made of coral and too hard to dig. So there’s nowhere to dispose of the plastic. It just builds up and up and up. This is a microcosm of what is happening all over the earth.” – Craig Leeson
23. “Microplastic is a new atmospheric pollutant.” – Deonie Allen
24. “Only we humans make waste that nature can’t digest.” – Charles Moore
25. “People have produced more than nine billion tonnes of plastic in less than 70 years, more than half of it over the past thirteen years according to study in Science Advances.” – David Suzuki
26. “If We have any hope of finding ways for seven billion people to live well on a planet with finite resources, we have to learn to use our resources efficiently. Plastic bags are neither efficient nor environmentally friendly.” – David Suzuki
27. “There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away it has to go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard
Quotes are intended to intrigue the mind and provide a thought-provoking experience for the recipient. I hope that the quotes listed here have fulfilled that brief and that some have provided lots of brain nourishment.
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Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys and an amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.
He now has an army of like-hearted individuals passionate about the environment and positive change through peaceful action.