7 Short Must-See YouTube Videos on Plastic

Below you will find videos that show how plastic is made, highlight the severity of plastic pollution and show how plastic is destroying the environment, marine life, and human health.

You will also find ways to tackle the problem from a global and individual perspective. 

1. Plastic Pollution: How Humans are Turning the World into Plastic

This animated video is created by Kurzgesagt in collaboration with the UN Environment and its Clean Seas Campaign. It begins with the story of King Midas, who had his wish granted by the gods that everything he touched would turn to gold and he ended up heartbroken, starving and alone. 

Humanity got a similar wish when it learned to turn brown goo into the plastic. It changed our lives because it was cheap, versatile and convenient. However, plastic production has got out of hand and if we don’t address plastic pollution from a global perspective, we will not solve it.

2. Plastic 101 

Find out more about how plastic is made in this video by National Geographic, It shows how plastic started off as a natural product but is now synthetic and largely made with fossil fuels like crude oil and natural gas.

The video shows how polymers become nurdles that can be shaped by heat and pressure. Global production has doubled about every decade and this video shows what we can do to slow down the devastating effects this material will have on the environment and our health.

Substituting reusable alternatives for single-use plastics in our everyday lives is one way we can make a difference. 

3. Plastic Ocean

Dr. Jennifer Lavers, a marine scientist, has devoted her life to studying the plight of sea birds. In this video by the United Nations, you will see her on Midway Island in the Pacific, where she examines a young Laysan albatross that died from plastic consumption. 

The video is an adaptation from the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” by the Plastic Oceans Foundation and gives insight into the shocking amount and type of plastics found in the stomachs of sea birds.

Dr. Lavers finds 240 pieces of plastic in the one bird and says that the record is 276 pieces found inside a 90-day-old chick. 

4. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not what you think it is

The Swim produced this video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Where does all the trash come from and is it really concentrated in great big garbage patch out there somewhere? Marcus Ericson, an environmental scientist, says that marine debris can be surprisingly challenging to study. 

He says that islands of trash don’t exist. It’s more like a soup of microplastic particles that cover a wide area. Find out how Sarah-Jeanne Royer, Ph.D., an oceanographer, and a team from the University of Hawaii are trying to tackle the problem of tracking trash. They are working with The Swim expedition and the Ocean Voyager’s Institute to tag and track the waste they find. 

5. The dangerous chemicals in your plastic packages

Biologist, Bruce Blumberg, talks about the danger of chemicals like BPA found in plastic packaging leaching into your food in this video by Science Insider. He has been studying the link between obesity and synthetic chemicals for about 15 years. 

Surveys have already shown that most Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their urine. Blumberg suggests it’s best to heat your food in ceramic or glass containers, rather than plastic. Once you reduce exposure, the chemicals slowly leave your body. 

6. Plastic Pollution

This short, animated video by WWF International Plastics brings home the fact that plastics take up to 400 years to decompose. This means the lives of the next 16 generations will be affected. 

Plastics use more fossil fuels than airlines, cause climate change and put marine animals under threat. We are eating, drinking and breathing plastic. Learn some interesting statistics, such as the fact that 3,000,000 plastic bottles and plastic bags are sold in 60 seconds. 

7. The incredible transformation of the world’s most polluted beach

If you’re depressed about the extent of the plastics problem, this video by Bored Panda will inspire you. In 2015 Afroz Shah started picking up trash on Versova beach, one of the most polluted beaches in India. 

Other volunteers were inspired to join him, mounting the world’s largest beach cleaning operation. Versova beach looked more like a landfill than a beach but they managed to pick up more than five million kilos of trash in three years and life came back to the beach. 

We are faced with a plastics problem that requires a paradigm shift in thinking. This needs to take place on a global level but every individual has a part to play. Watching the above videos may just inspire you to become part of the solution. 

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