National Geographic magazine launched a shocking campaign called Planet or Plastic in 2018 with the intention of putting a major spotlight on the fact that there is far too much plastic in our environment.
By showing the terrible effects plastic has on our flora and fauna, NatGeo hopes to change the ways consumers use plastic.
“For 130 years, National Geographic has documented the stories of our planet, providing audiences around the world with a window into the earth’s breathtaking beauty as well as to the threats it faces,” Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners, told the Daily Mail.
“Each and every day, our explorers, researchers and photographers in the field witness firsthand the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire.”
“Through the Planet or Plastic? initiative, we will share the stories of this growing crisis, work to address it through the latest science and research, and educate audiences around the world about how to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from making their way into our oceans.”
2 Many of us are aware that there is far too much plastic in our environment
“The photographer freed this stork from a plastic bag at a landfill in Spain. One bag can kill more than once: Carcasses decay, but plastic lasts and can choke or trap again”
Image credits: John Cancalosi/ National Geographic
3 We all feel a little guilty when throwing plastic straight into the trash, knowing that we are contributing to a problem that is too vast for us to truly comprehend
“Under a bridge on a branch of the Buriganga River in Bangladesh, a family removes labels from plastic bottles, sorting green from clear ones to sell to a scrap dealer. Waste pickers here average around $100 a month”
Image credits: Randy Olson / National Geographic
4 But what if we were faced with the horrifying consequences of our plastic addiction?
“The largest market for plastics today is packaging materials. That trash now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally—most of it never gets recycled or incinerated”
Image credits: Jayed Hasen/ National Geographic
5 These powerful and heartbreaking images vividly illustrate the damage that 9 million tonnes of plastic waste each year does to our environment and wildlife
“Plastic bottles choke the Cibeles fountain, outside city hall in central Madrid. An art collective called Luzinterruptus filled this and two other Madrid fountains with 60,000 discarded bottles last fall as a way of calling attention to the environmental impact of disposable plastics”
Image credits: Randy Olson/ National Geographic
6 That is one of the aims of the iconic magazine’s campaign as they seek to change the ways consumers use plastic
“An old plastic fishing net snares a loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean off Spain. The turtle could stretch its neck above water to breathe but would have died had the photographer not freed it. “Ghost fishing” by derelict gear is a big threat to sea turtles”
Image credits: Jordi Chias/ National Geographic
7 Because every change, no matter how futile it may seem, helps at some level
“On Okinawa, Japan, a hermit crab resorts to a plastic bottle cap to protect its soft abdomen. Beachgoers collect the shells the crabs normally use, and they leave trash behind”
Image credits: Shawn Miller
8 The magazine itself is leading by example, beginning to send out their editions in paper instead of plastic
“To ride currents, seahorses clutch drifting seagrass or other natural debris. In the polluted waters off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, this seahorse latched onto a plastic cotton swab—“a photo I wish didn’t exist,” says photographer Justin Hofman”
Image credits: Justin Hofman/ National Geographic
9 The campaign has identified plastic bags, bottles and straws as problematic products
“Around the world, nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute”
Image credits: David Higgins/ National Geographic
10 And urges consumers to take a pledge to dramatically reduce their use of them by making simple conscious choices
“Some animals now live in a world of plastics—like these hyenas scavenging at a landfill in Harar, Ethiopia. They listen for garbage trucks and find much of their food in trash”
Image credits: Brian Lehmann/ National Geographic
11 Will you take the pledge?
“Some 700 species of marine animals have been reported so far to have eaten or become entangled in plastic”
Image credits: David Jones/ National Geographic
Image credits: OHN JOHNSON