I could go on with the citations, but you get the idea, and this is probably not news to you.
What can you do about it? Start making a habit of avoiding plastic.
Avoid: Plastic bags for purchases, plastic containers for take out (or “doggy bags”), overly-packaged items (always encased in plastic).
Biggest thing to avoid? Plastic drink containers, especially water bottles. [Earth 911: Who are the Biggest Plastic Polluters 2021].
While corporations (see above image) are by far the largest polluters, individuals can help to move the needle toward conservation and reduction of pollution by taking consistent action to avoid contributing to the problem, and encouraging others to join in.
TrashBlitz Austin used volunteers to collect and count trash to come up with a way to reduce the use of plastic in the city of Austin. 70% of the trash picked up consisted of single-use plastic items. One of the outcomes of this effort was the Austin Reuse Coalition with a focus on helping restaurants reduce the use of plastic.
Please do your part to reduce use of plastic, and encourage others to do so, also. If everyone eliminated plastic bottles and plastic bags from their lives, there would be an immediate and visible reduction in pollution. It has to start somewhere – let it start with us.