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Plastics Are Forever

Plastic that winds up in water can break down into smaller particles.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Plastic is everywhere. It’s in the device you’re reading this on and possibly even sewn into the clothes you’re wearing. It’s also in multiple gyres of slurry, some of them larger than Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean.

It’s in the bellies of fish (some are even attracted to it) and the stomachs of pretty much every seabird.).

You’ll also find plastic in most of world’s drinking water, according to a new study from Orb Media.

Microscopic plastic fibers are flowing out of taps from New York to New Delhi, according to exclusive research by Orb and a researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. From the halls of the U.S. Capitol to the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, women, children, men, and babies are consuming plastic with every glass of water.

More than 80 percent of the samples we collected on five continents tested positive for the presence of plastic fibers.

Some governments have tried taxing plastic bags at stores or banning them entirely. Rwanda threatens jail to people caught smuggling plastic bags into the country. But how effective are those efforts if plastic is already in … everything?


Molly Bingham, President and CEO, Orb Media

Sherri “Sam” Mason, Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences SUNY Fredonia; freshwater plastic pollution researcher

Matt Prindiville, UPSTREAM, Executive Director

For more, visit

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