Plastic Pollution - Not Just An Ocean Problem

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Latest research shows plastic pollution is a major contributor to urban air pollution in the Indian Sub-Continent

Air pollution in Delhi
Air Pollution in Delhi - Plastic Waste a major contributor (

In recent years the effects of plastic pollution in the oceans has attracted extraordinary attention - whether it be Sir David Attenborough's plangent documentaries or the effervescent campaign of Lad Bible to highlight the great Pacific gyre by creating a new nation the Trash Isles.

At earthrhize our focus on plastic pollution removal as a significant part of our monthly HALO has primarily been driven by the impacts Plastic Bank has through the quadrants of Humanity and Oceans. In the Plastic Bank model humanity benefits from poverty reduction through the creation of a circular economy whilst fragile ocean ecosystems are protected from yet more plastic pollution. Our February 2021 assessment of the projects earthrhize supports in Haiti show this concentration through our stylised HALO:

earthrhize HALO showing the impact of plastic pollution in Haiti
Stylised earthrhize HALO for Plastic Bank in Haiti - Ocean Impact to the Fore

But The Effects of Plastic Pollution Are Not Just Confined to the Oceans

New research published by UCL highlights the effect of plastic pollution on urban air pollution in the mega-cities of the Indian sub-continent, with a particular focus on Delhi. Delhi has become notorious for some of the worst air pollution in the world with lung-searing, eye burning smog turning day into twilight and creating endemic respiratory health problems.

For many commentators the easiest explanation for this urban smog is the ages-old agricultural practice of stubble burning colliding with the breakneck growth in traffic. Latest research, however, indicates that as much as 50% of the air pollution could be attributed to the effects of burning household and industrial waste with a significant plastic component. Furthermore, the effects don't just appear localised but spread across the entire country.

A smoggy day in ocean-side Mumbai

Yet another reason, if one were needed, for us to assess our approach to plastic and its profound impacts on humanity and the environment. We'll be looking at our Plastic Bank HALO again in March 2021 taking into account the latest research findings and whether they impact our communities in the Air quadrant of the HALO.

At earthrhize our £9.99 monthly programme aims to remove 72kgs of plastic from the environment every year - that's a lot of plastic and close to the estimated plastic consumption of a typical UK household, most of which is packaging and of which, less than 40% is recycled.

Remember tell your friends to sign up to our Newsletter and we'll pay for 1kg of Ocean Bound Plastic to be cleaned up on their behalf.

If you found this piece interesting read on...

Turning The Tide On Plastic - Lucy Siegle (Trapeze 2018)

It's a banger of a book with plenty of great advice amongst the apocalyptic plastic deluge...

Lad Bible - Trash Isles

Their ground-breaking campaign proving fighting the good fight doesn't always have to be po-faced and can be powerfully conducted with a sense of the ridiculous.

The Guardian

For many great articles on our destructive love of plastic.

Enhanced Aerosol Particle Growth Sustained By High Continental Chlorine Emission in India (2021) Gunthe, Liu, Pande et al

The research piece in Nature Geoscience on the effects of burning plastic waste on India's air pollution.

The House of Commons December 2020 Briefing on Plastic Waste

And for those sleepless nights... although this may give you nightmares.