Plastic Pollution: How Humans are Turning the World into Plastic

  • Published: 01 July 2018
  • Modern life would be impossible without plastic – but we have long since lost control over our invention. Why has plastic turned into a problem and what do we know about its dangers?

    This video is a collaboration with UN Environment and their Clean Seas campaign, If you want to take action to turn the tide on plastics, go to and make your pledge.

    We also partnered with askscience on reddit – on you can talk to experts and ask questions about about plastic pollution today!

    Sources used in the video:

    Support us on Patreon so we can make more videos (and get cool stuff in return):


    The Voice of Kurzgesagt:
    Steve Taylor:

    The music of the video here:


    Jérémy Carrara, Jeffrey Hearn, israel , Brian Yim, Gregory Tripp, Charanjit Singh, Meris Williams, wls rainfarm, Eusden Shing, Rick Bijkerk, Ash Joy, Derek Farder, Lisa Wright, Collin Bruce, Anatoly Zabelin, Renars Liepins, Josh Blumhagen, Gregory Crawley, Stephen, James Beaumont, Oisin Hurley, John M, Serial88, Simone Zecchi, José Hernández, David Medellin, Tarish Kadam, Christian Tigges, Gavin Stenhouse, Elliot Bailey, Wuggletoes, Josef Citrine, Herman Karlsson, André Beaudoin, Busterdrag, Jhiro Molina, Talynn Gray, Zach, David Epstein, Mark Sierra, Xellos, Daniel Prater, Jacky Kheang, Wesley Gardner, Giovanni Casarini, Cameron MacDonald, Brendan Ashton-Collins, Aramayis Grigoryan, Kevin, Deraek, Michael Vowles, Guinevere Fullerton, Douglas Pennant, David Blinder, Ethan Bloxham, Luud Janssen, Evan Stevenson, Dylan Pidcock, Michael Brice, Sir Bigglesworth, Martin Esser, Alvarin_IL, Adam Lewis, Amy Robinson, Philipp Wenzelburger, Trevor Netzer, Bruno Dellavega, Shawn Mullins, Diego Laboy, Pablo Pasquin, David Ha, Tiger, Jonathan Davies, Niklas Gehlen, Cauri Jaye, Simon Que, Rodney Chupp, Tate Demaray, Jonathan Lindgren, Stanislav S., Michael Rauh, Bryn Sedlacek, Hayden Vandenbrink, Nathan Cox, patricia stewart, Tanya Degurechaff, Whangam, Justin Bull

    Help us caption & translate this video!

Comments • 12 924

  • Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

    There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here:

    • ender_slayer3
      ender_slayer3  1 weeks back

      However if you had cared to mention that a large portion ( roughly 80-90% ) comes from countries like India, where they are trying to jump from a third world to a first world nation. This is foolish and dangerous because it WILL cause extreme poverty (which it has) spread of disease, and of course mass pollution, because the people are uneducated on how to handle such materials they do what they have always done with their trash, which used to consist of all natural materials such as wood, food scraps, and woven baskets, they simply do not understand the massive destructive chain of events that they have set into motion, and their government doesn't care because they are too busy advancing themselves to notice the giant smog trail that is being left behind them, honestly look at India where so many of their people are starving and in droughts, and the government is making plans for their own space program!

    • Zaabb Zaabb
      Zaabb Zaabb  3 weeks back

      Mewmeowwi Channel Official مشُِڰـُـْـْـ🌺ـْـْعاالشةنةنثنظمم

    • Zaabb Zaabb
      Zaabb Zaabb  3 weeks back

      Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell ثتعرلانثونت

  • jgelanyi
    jgelanyi  2 hours back

    Everyones so concerned about being offended these days....leave your feelings at home, because our "home" we call Earth, is going down the toilet

    • CloudyVenom
      CloudyVenom  6 hours back

      But why would i convince others to not use plastic stuff if non-plastic stuff seems like it's somehow worse and less efficient?

      • Minh Nguyen
        Minh Nguyen  10 hours back

        We need to ban plastic and keep the world a good world and a tidy world no littering forever in our life

        • Minh Nguyen
          Minh Nguyen  10 hours back

          I hate plastic forever I am telling the truth

          • Minh Nguyen
            Minh Nguyen  11 hours back

            No plastic whatever in the world

            • Amy Parker
              Amy Parker  11 hours back

              Who else thinks that the animal thing that represents the plastic power looks a bit like a furby?

              • Amy Parker
                Amy Parker  11 hours back

                "But some how, we collectively decided to use this supper tough material for things we will throw away"

                -Humans (is meant to be intelligent species 👏)

                • anshul mittal
                  anshul mittal  23 hours back

                  Asian countries are sending plastic through the rivers and European countries and America are directly dumping more than that into the ocean. Not addressed anywhere. The fact that America very bluntly said no to taking care of environment comes no where. These people colonised and took the values of Asians away which already had the 3R's taken care of. Not addressed anywhere.

                  • Mick Healy
                    Mick Healy  1 days back

                    we are breathing, drinking and eating a credit card in weight of microscopic plastics each week, each bloody week! and rising, and it contains toxic chemicals and other nasties..its a small wonder we are not already dead..but we soon will be at this rate from organ failure.

                    • Miguel Fierro
                      Miguel Fierro  2 days back


                      • 박성민
                        박성민  3 days back

                        4:50 Why do THEY always begin to worry AFTER it happens?

                        • Abdullah Ar Rafi
                          Abdullah Ar Rafi  3 days back

                          Human Beings: The Great Filter is behind us!
                          *Plastics: I'ma 'bout to end these beings' whole lives!*

                          • Scott Benedict
                            Scott Benedict  3 days back

                            How many people complaining, smoke cigarettes? Those cigarette filters are always laying around. People who smoke certainly shouldn’t talk about unnecessary waste.

                            • Scott Benedict
                              Scott Benedict  3 days back

                              What a lame advertisement for selling the Paris Agreement (aka globalism).

                              • firmanimad
                                firmanimad  2 days back

                                What is your point? Care to elaborate and present a counter-argument?

                            • David Mac Football
                              David Mac Football  4 days back

                              Littering is a shameful thing to do

                              Like if u don't

                              • {Quacky Wacky}
                                {Quacky Wacky}  4 days back

                                When will Humans realize what are the consequences of their actions and the pollution they are causing? Like,after experiencing the punishment they received by their immediate actions? Please,we do really need to help cleanse our planet,and that means all of us contributing to taking care of our planet.Well,then,why should we? Because *we* are the one who caused this whole problem,and that we should also repay the damage we sustained.

                                • nikolas dab
                                  nikolas dab  4 days back

                                  Why doesnt school teach us these things. Whats the point of teaching different subjects if we wont be able to use them since we wont be alive from pollution?

                                  • puirYorick
                                    puirYorick  4 days back

                                    Everyone at work were supplied with ceramic mugs to drink their coffee and tea so as to reduce Styrofoam use in the staff lunchroom.

                                    The detergents, bleach and hot water plus extra energy to make, transport and keep cleaning the mugs plus their eventual disposal were *probably* a net positive for the environment but only at a guess.

                                    • Nick Ruiez
                                      Nick Ruiez  5 days back

                                      Global warming, plastic polution, nuclear warheads, asteroids, over population..... Dumb ways to die, so many dumb ways to die.

                                      • Balder Suen
                                        Balder Suen  5 days back

                                        Just use it for something

                                        • Balder Suen
                                          Balder Suen  5 days back

                                          Nature must take revenge

                                          • majestaec
                                            majestaec  5 days back

                                            So we’re basically stuck in this until we die because of it.

                                            • Veronica Marx
                                              Veronica Marx  5 days back

                                              Thank you so much! I chose this topic for my speeches at my school and will be presenting some of your information! You really helped me out, thank you 🙏

                                              • Peter Faretra
                                                Peter Faretra  5 days back

                                                90% of all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers; two are in in Africa and the other eight are in Asia... with China dumping 50% alone.
                                                ASIA HAVE BEEN QUIETLY POISONING OUR OCEANS FOR DECADES!

                                                • GameJunk
                                                  GameJunk  5 days back


                                                  • M H
                                                    M H  6 days back


                                                    single use plastic bag.
                                                    Dont people understand yo can use the plastic bag at least 50 times? the "throw away plastic bag", is reusable. you dont have to throw it away...

                                                    • Madara Uchiha
                                                      Madara Uchiha  6 days back

                                                      There you are, enjoying your plastic things, and suddenly, the world is made of plastic
                                                      You didn't ask for this
                                                      You didn't choose this
                                                      But yet there it is

                                                      • Mika Hood
                                                        Mika Hood  6 days back

                                                        I feel like kurzgesagt might have something against furbies 🤔

                                                        • Blak Vision
                                                          Blak Vision  6 days back

                                                          Stop using plastics right away. Don't live in showoff world. India is taking initiatives to end use of plastics 100%. Why don't some very civilized country ignore Plastic Ban? Are you really civilized or just civilized with pen and paper?

                                                          • leo nas
                                                            leo nas  6 days back

                                                            We need plastic that decomposes safely...

                                                            • Jocker
                                                              Jocker  7 days back

                                                              i thought the solution was developed long ago, recycling? real recycling not just burning it for energy production. i mean probably about 70% of all plastics are polymers that can be reused , stuff like PP/PE/PET or the styrene group. the problem is not the plastics but the people... it is just cheaper to throw it into the oceans and the solution for that would be to make it more expansive up to the point where people don't even think about throwing it away.

                                                              • Khyrid
                                                                Khyrid  1 weeks back

                                                                We really need to get the word out on this. This is like the Romans with Lead Pipes, we have no idea that we are destroying ourselves.

                                                                • No Way
                                                                  No Way  1 weeks back

                                                                  We are really stupid

                                                                  • Moca Mihai
                                                                    Moca Mihai  1 weeks back

                                                                    I think that you should take in account that planned obsolescence also plays a big role in contributing to plastic waste. I think a huge step for humanity would be to ban corporations and companies to use planned obsolescence if their goods are made out of plastic.

                                                                    • Sergius Janik
                                                                      Sergius Janik  1 weeks back

                                                                      How about plastic - digesting Bacteria? Maybe one mutation will change the world some time and they will use a highly available energy resource...

                                                                      • Obi-Wan Ennobi
                                                                        Obi-Wan Ennobi  1 weeks back

                                                                        Actually, there were bacteria discovered digesting PET in Japan very recently and the responsible enzyme PETase could be identified. The enzyme is quite inefficient but researchers all over the world are working on engineering new optimized variants. In our lab in Berlin for example, a group of algae researchers (iGEM at the Humboldt University, check it out!) try to develop microplastic degrading algae cells. These are just the first steps, it is is still a long way.

                                                                    • Kirbs Mart
                                                                      Kirbs Mart  1 weeks back

                                                                      It all starts with HUMAN GREED.

                                                                      • Jerco _ Felix141
                                                                        Jerco _ Felix141  1 weeks back

                                                                        "....and a drum." That me lmfao

                                                                        • goerge bosh
                                                                          goerge bosh  1 weeks back

                                                                          why God wants us to live? why God why?

                                                                          • Nippy Bridge
                                                                            Nippy Bridge  1 weeks back

                                                                            lets all admit here. overpopulation is the real problem.

                                                                            • Jorge Goias
                                                                              Jorge Goias  1 weeks back

                                                                              Why don’t those stupid fish/birds stop eating plastic then? Sounds like survival of the fittest to me.

                                                                              • elulcao CA
                                                                                elulcao CA  1 weeks back

                                                                                You cant save the world

                                                                              • Kutluhan Bilgeşah Bayzan

                                                                                Sorry but i dont understand problem.
                                                                                Yes, there is a lots of plastic. But this is dont kill peoples. İn the worst scenario kills some fishs.
                                                                                İ think we must think climate change, because this is very big problem and plastic is little problem

                                                                                • Cody Wellings
                                                                                  Cody Wellings  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Kutluhan Bilgeşah Bayzan ok kiddo let me explain to you. There’s actually quite a lot of ties with plastic to climate change and both are big problems. Plastic kills animals, which may not seem a like anything but it actually has a big impact. See there is something called ecosystem. An ecosystem is large web full of different specifies that are connected to each other. All species in an ecosystem rely on other species to in many different ways. If one species were to die in an ecosystem it impacts the whole ecosystem. For example, an species dies, the natural predators of the species would lose a food source and get affected deeply, starving and struggling to survive. Now, if it was their only food source, they would starve to death, and then the predators of those predators would starve and the same thing happens until the ecosystem dies and then the whole planet is affected. Now how this this related to plastic? Well like I said in the beginning, plastic can kill animals, which could make a species go extinct, and start this entire thing I just explained, this would cause more climate change and cause global warming which would kill us, so yes plastic would kill humans. Another thing is that when plastic is manufactured, it causes pollution since most palaces that produce plastic are probably fossil fuels powered. There is a lot more I could explain but I’m assuming people are getting bored of reading this so I’ll end it here. Hope I cleared up some things.

                                                                              • Comander Gree
                                                                                Comander Gree  1 weeks back

                                                                                Nature: Please don't throw your trash in the ocean, you are making a mistake.
                                                                                Humans: Yea yea shut up.
                                                                                Micro plastic: *starts killing humans*
                                                                                Nature: What did i say.

                                                                                • LordApollyon
                                                                                  LordApollyon  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Even Humans are turning other humans into Plastic. (if you get what I mean)

                                                                                  • Mo Hassan
                                                                                    Mo Hassan  1 weeks back

                                                                                    please do a video on plastic ecobricking: a solution to plastic consumption !!!

                                                                                    • onlyvirly2c
                                                                                      onlyvirly2c  1 weeks back

                                                                                      We are killing the earth everybody man I wish there was some that could remove all excessive plastic in the world which includes plastic in the ocean other areas it shouldn’t be etc