The Earth’s surface is being noticeably altered by the production of long-lasting man-made materials, resulting in an ‘age of plastic,’ warns a new study.
The research suggests that plastics have such a long-lasting impact on the planet’s geology because they are inert and hard to degrade.
“Plastics are pretty well everywhere on Earth, from mountain tops to the deep ocean floor — and can be fossilised into the far future,” said Jan Zalasiewicz, professor of palaeobiology from University of Leicester’s department of geology.
“We now make almost a billion tonnes of the stuff every three years. If all the plastic made in the last few decades was clingfilm, there would be enough to put a layer around the whole Earth. With current trends of production, there will be the equivalent of several more such layers by mid-century,” Zalasiewicz informed.