The Plastic Problem - A PBS NewsHour Documentary

By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. It’s an environmental crisis that’s been in the making for nearly 70 years. Plastic pollution is considered one of the largest environmental threats facing humans and animals globally.

In “The Plastic Problem: PBS NewsHour Presents”, Amna Nawaz and her PBS NewsHour colleagues look at plastic and how it’s impacting the world, why it’s become so prevalent, what’s being done to mitigate its use, and what potential alternatives or solutions exist. This hour-long program travels from Boston to Seattle, Costa Rica to Easter Island to bring the global scale of the problem to light.

Nawaz tracks how the world is grappling with the growing plastic problem by talking with a host of experts, among them a scientist who studies microplastics and an industrial ecologist who quantified how much plastic has ever been produced: 9 billion metric tons. Overseas, “The Plastic Problem” travels to Malaysia to see the ripple effects of China’s decision to ban plastic waste imports.

Nawaz sits down with executives from two of the world’s biggest plastic producers -- The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever -- to see what they’re doing to address the problem. She investigates why experts believe recycling isn’t the answer. She looks for large-scale solutions to the problem in Seattle, the first major American city to ban single-use plastics. And on a smaller scale, she meets a family in Toronto, Canada trying to reduce their plastic footprint by shopping at a new zero-waste grocery store.

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