As Climate Misinformation Spreads, WHY PLASTIC? Documentaries Expose the Myths and Realities of Plastic Waste

Still from
Coca-Cola's Plastic Promises
Laoise Murray
May 30, 2024

Misinformation is now the biggest threat to the world according to the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Global Risk Report.

In particular, climate misinformation is rampant on social media and in the news, causing people around the world to lose trust in climate science and the climate movement.  Some narratives used by misinformation proponents are old, and some are new: denials that climate change is happening or that it is caused by human activity, conspiracy theories that climate solutions won’t work, and claims that the impacts of global warming are beneficial or harmless - the list goes on.

These narratives are often pushed by corporations and their associates with the hope of delaying climate change action. Some of the biggest companies in the world have a vested interest in making money from products that destroy the environment.

Some Correct Information: Plastic Pollution

In a report from just last month, environmental scientists found that just 60 multinationals have created more than half of the world’s plastic pollution. The Coca-Cola Company alone is responsible for 11% of the world’s plastic waste

Plastic is made from fossil fuels and is one of the most enduring materials we humans have created. While we have been producing and using plastic for less than a century,  researchers have estimated that plastic will likely outweigh all fish in the sea by 2050.

Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to break down, and during the process creates microplastics which are tiny particles that wreak havoc on the health of humans, animals and plants. In a study published in 2024, researchers found that there were microplastics in all 62 placentas studied, raising concerns for fetal development.

Why Plastic?

Our series of documentary films WHY PLASTIC? investigates some of the myths and realities of our global dependence on single-use plastic. In We the Guinea Pigs, the filmmakers explore the surprising and horrifying health implications of our unconscious consumption of microplastics.

You can still watch the short WHY PLASTIC documentaries for free on The Why's YouTube channel.

Solving the Plastic Problem

A UN committee is currently developing an international treaty to reduce plastic pollution. It is hoped that a text will be finalised at the final session in Korea at the end of 2024. The purpose of such an instrument would be to eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic around the world and place more responsibilities on producers of plastic waste. 

And if you’re looking for some more fact-based information before then? The 2024 Drilled Media Guide to Climate Disinformation is a useful tool to start unravelling some of the lies and confusion around climate action. 

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