By @randyolson | Even though single-use plastics make up almost half of world plastic production and are choking the oceans, there are plastics that can be beneficial with a long working lifetime. I’m glad I put plastic pipes into the house I’m building because it cut costs, and the pipes should last forever. Almost half of the airframe of the 787 Dreamliner (photo 2) is made of carbon fiber plastic composite, saving around 20% of the weight of a conventional aluminum airframe. Other photos in this gallery include: A plastic flower market in Mumbai, a balloon factory in Bangladesh, Christmas shopping and plastic production in Manila. It’s easy to forget that on many levels, plastic is a miraculous, indispensable compound that surrounds us every day. Just keep count of how many plastic objects you touch in a day… it may surprise you.
These images are part of a multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Learn what you can do to help. Take Your Pledge: natgeo.com/environment/plasticpledge