"The planet is slowly being covered in plastic."
New research published in the scientific journal Anthropocene, argues that the Holocene epoch (which began about 11,700 years ago) has ended and we are now in the Anthropocene epoch, which is characterized by human activities changing the Earth's geology.
The indicators are the abundance of human-created materials found in sediment all over the world -- ranging from aluminum, concrete and plastics to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), PAHs (polyaromatic hydrocarbons), pesticides, nuclear fallout (from bomb tests in the 1940s and 1950s), nitrogen and phosphorus (from increased fertilizer use).
And regarding plastics in particular, this is what one of the authors of the study, Jan Zalasiewicz, had to say: “In 1950, we virtually made [no plastic] at all. It is an incredible rise. [The] annual total of 300 million tonnes [of plastic] is close to the weight of the entire human population of the planet. And the figure for plastic manufacture is only going to grow. The total amount of plastic produced since the second world war is around 5 billion tonnes and is very likely to reach 30 billion by the end of the century. The impact will be colossal.”http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/24/plastic-new-epoch-human-damage
The scientific articles...
On the Anthropocene epoch: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6269/aad2622
On plastics as a key indicator of the Anthropocene epoch:http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6269/aad2622