The Heart Breaking Viral Picture Published By Nat-Geo Wild
NatGeo just caught the world’s attention with their June 2018 magazine cover that featured something that looked like an iceberg. Look closer and you’ll realize that it’s actually plastic.This image raises awareness to one of today’s biggest problem: 18 billion pounds of plastic ending up in the ocean. Nat-Geo’s Twitter followers immediately spread the magazine image and other images that convey the impact of plastic on the environment.
Reasons for going viral: Heart Breaking Viral Picture Published By Nat-Geo
- Plastic is a pressing issue and it affects everyone.
- Nat-Geo used striking imagery to trigger emotional reactions.
- They used a campaign hashtag #PlanetOrPlastic that was in line with the present issue.
- It encouraged people who cared about the campaign to create user-generated content.
If plastic had been invented when the Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, to North America—and the Mayflower had been stocked with bottled water and plastic-wrapped snacks—their plastic trash would likely still be around, four centuries later.
If the Pilgrims had been like many people today and simply tossed their empty bottles and wrappers over the side, Atlantic waves and sunlight would have worn all that plastic into tiny bits. And those bits might still be floating around the world’s oceans today, sponging up toxins to add to the ones already in them, waiting to be eaten by some hapless fish or oyster, and ultimately perhaps by one of us.
We should give thanks that the Pilgrims didn’t have plastic, I thought recently as I rode a train to Plymouth along England’s south coast. I was on my way to see a man who would help me make sense of the whole mess we’ve made with plastic, especially in the ocean.
No one knows how much un-recycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean, Earth’s last sink. In 2015, Jenna Jambeck, a University of Georgia engineering professor, caught everyone’s attention with a rough estimate: between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions. Most of it isn’t thrown off ships, she and her colleagues say, but is dumped carelessly on land or in rivers, mostly in Asia. It’s then blown or washed into the sea. Imagine five plastic grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash, Jambeck says, sitting on every foot of coastline around the world—that would correspond to about 8.8 million tons, her middle-of-the-road estimate of what the ocean gets from us annually. It’s unclear how long it will take for that plastic to completely biodegrade into its constituent molecules. Estimates range from 450 years to never.