Environment Recycling & Waste Why the 'Break Free From Plastic' Movement Is a Really Big Deal By Katherine Martinko Katherine Martinko Twitter Senior Editor University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Break Free From Plastic Share Twitter Pinterest Email Recycling & Waste Plastics Zero Waste Finally, more than 100 NGOs from all around the world have joined forces to fight global plastic pollution, and they need you to join the movement. The time to take a stance against plastic pollution has come. People are rallying in ever-greater numbers around the world, protesting the obscene amounts of plastic waste that are strewn on beaches, tossed in landfills, clogging the oceans. In July 2016, a group of non-governmental organizations and individuals from all around the world met in Tagaytay, Philipppines, to create a comprehensive strategy for a global movement to end planetary plastic pollution. The result is a campaign called Break Free From Plastic. Signed by more than 100 major environmental groups, including Greenpeace, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, Zero Waste Europe, The 5 Gyres Institute, GAIA, and The Story of Stuff Project, the official pledge to join the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement supports a vision for a world very different than the one we currently inhabit. “We believe in a world where the land, sky, oceans, and water is home to an abundance of life, not an abundance of plastic, and where the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat is free of toxic by-products of plastic pollution. In this world the principles of environmental justice, social justice, public health, and human rights lead government policy, not the demands of elites and corporations.” The Vision Statement [pdf] sets 10 goals that include: striving for a world in which our lifestyles fit within the limitations of the environment; where waste is reduced, first and foremost; the lifecycle of materials are considered by producers; toxic substances are eliminated from production; and zero waste systems are implemented worldwide to reduce burden on landfills and incinerators. The following short video sums it the vision statement: Plastic pollution is something that must be addressed because it affects so many inhabitants of the planet, both human and animal, in countless ways. It has become a human rights issue because plastic waste from developed nations so often ends up being the problem of the disadvantaged poor in developing countries. Landfills and incinerators are often located in low-income communities. Plastic pollution has devastating environmental implications. Scientists’ projected estimates of the amount of plastic in oceans range from one ton of plastic per two tons of fish by 2050 to more than 50 percent plastic. From the press release: “Nearly a third of plastic packaging escapes collection systems and winds up in the oceans. Once there, sunlight and ocean currents shred plastic debris into smaller particles called microplastics, which attract and concentrate toxic chemicals up the marine food chain and into our bodies.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed ocean pollution recently, urging young people who may not care about the wellbeing of “far-off oceans” to realize that “nothing is far-off anymore.” The Break Free From Plastic movement is desperately needed to make a difference. You can join officially by signing the pledge, located on the home page, and sharing it on social media. At the same time, strive to eliminate plastic, particularly single-use disposables, from your life whenever possible.