Earth Day 2018: Focusing on ending plastic pollution

It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)
It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)
Updated: Apr. 22, 2018 at 1:25 PM EDT
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(WWBT) - Sunday, April 22, marks Earth Day, a day where more than 1 billion people from 192 find ways to protect the planet.

Earth Day is an annual event that dates back to 1970.

"It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God's greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on," according to

This year's Earth Day event will focus on ending plastic pollution, which include "ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics."

According to Columbia University, Americans threw out 33.6 million tons of plastic in 2014, and only 9.5 percent of it was recycled and 15 percent was combusted to create electricity or heat.

Most of the plastic usually ends up in a landfill, and it may take up to 500 years for it to decompose.

This year, NASA released tools for people to use in order to learn more about the planet we call home. The tools include animated gifs, an app that allows people to observe Earth in a 3-D environment, and an app that people can use to prevent Zika and other mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Click here to learn more about Earth Day.

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