Have You Heard About The Museum That Showcases Plastic Found On Beaches

This year, the theme for World Environment Day focuses on solutions to plastic pollution. Archeoplastica is a museum of ancient plastic items that have been found on beaches. Now the oldest plastic wastes collected will be part of a new virtual museum
Beaches across the world are awash with plastics which endanger marine life                                           Shutterstock
Beaches across the world are awash with plastics which endanger marine life Shutterstock

More than 150 countries are expected to participate in this year&rsquos World Environment Day on 5 June, while millions are likely to engage through in-person and online activities. Hosted by C&ocircte d&rsquoIvoire and supported by the Netherlands, this year&rsquos theme focuses on solutions to plastic pollution. The stakes could not be higher, as humanity produces over 430 million tonnes of plastic annually, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste. While the social and economic costs of plastic pollution range between $US300 to US$600 billion per year.

Do you know what environmental scientists call the popular sailing route between California and Hawaii The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Surprised But this is only the tip of the iceberg. According to NASA&rsquos Earth Observatory, &lsquoabout eight million tons of plastic flow from rivers and beaches into the ocean every year&rsquo. The debris include a variety of objects, ranging from large fishing nets to microplastics (plastic pieces smaller than 5mm). Carried by ocean currents and broken down by waves and sunlight, the microplastics accumulate as huge garbage patches in the calm centers of ocean gyres (rotating ocean currents). The debris not only spreads across the surface of the water but also drops down all the way to the ocean floor, harming the marine ecology in the long run.

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A post-pandemic report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has revealed the world&rsquos addiction to single use plastic. According to the report, &lsquoone million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute across the globe, while 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once &mdash and then thrown away&rsquo. The report also highlighted that if the current trend continues our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

Archeoplastica aims to increase public awareness of plastic pollution on beaches and oceans. Set up in 2018, it showcases a significant amount of plastic waste from 30 to 60 years ago which has been&nbspfound on beaches. The items have been picked up and presented here in an online museum alongside other exhibitions.

A group of Italian environmental activists created the Archeoplastica project to gather and display old plastic items discovered on beaches and in other natural settings to demonstrate how plastic may stay intact and damaging for decades.

Various plastic artifacts from decades back tell the tale of plastic pollution in this museum. With over 500 "archeoplastic" waste, the foundation&rsquos online museum presents all kinds of archeological waste pieces that its team has picked up.'

The plastic products on display include a honey jar from the 1950s which was discovered on one of the beaches in Lecce and Eldorado Miniball ice cream container which was one of the most popular brands from the late 1960s into the mid 1970s a bottle of Sol Dermis, which was a spray oil for tanning made by Kaloderma and dating back to 1970s a Yomo Yogurt which is at least 40 years old.

This initiative reiterates a fact - that plastic never dies. Once released into the environment, it remains forever, polluting everything and causing great harm to the planet and species that make it their home.

You can explore the virtual museum at https://www.archeoplastica.it/museo-virtuale/ 

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