Plastics • 2000 • episode "S1E4" History 101

Category: Environment
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Plastics have transformed how we live, but progress comes at a high price: 7.8 billion tons of waste. Are plastics a miracle or a catastrophe?

History 101 • 2000 - 2020 • 10 episodes •

Fast Food

Cheap, quick and tasty, fast food became a culinary craze in the 1950s. But has our quest for convenience created an irreversible health crisis?

2020 • Health

The Space Race

Fifteen international agencies spend $62 billion every year on space travel. What's fueling our costly - and dangerous - drive to explore the universe?

2020 • Astronomy

The Rise of China

In the 21st century, China has become a global economic powerhouse. Why was the rest of the world so slow to notice its rise to the top?

2020 • Economics

Plastics

Plastics have transformed how we live, but progress comes at a high price: 7.8 billion tons of waste. Are plastics a miracle or a catastrophe?

2000 • Environment

Oil and the Middle East

Oil has brought great wealth to the Middle East and ignited major wars. Is it a blessing or a curse for the region, as well as the rest of the world?

2020 • Economics

Robots

We share the planet with an estimated 9 million robots, from self-driving cars to surgical arms. Could they one day completely replace humans?

2020 • Technology

Feminism

Feminism has ushered in sweeping changes to society, securing rights for women around the world. How much further do we have to go?

2020 • People

Nuclear Power

Over 10% of the world's electricity comes from nuclear power. But with radioactive waste and the threat of nuclear meltdown, are we playing with fire?

2020 • Economics

AIDS

Nearly 40 million people are living with HIV. After decades of research and activism, how far have we come in finding a cure and battling the stigma?

2020 • Health

Genetics

DNA analysis has given us the tools to map disease, solve crimes and more. But in our rush to decode DNA, are we leaping before we look?

2020 • Science

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Part 3

In the final episode of the series, Anita Rani investigates the tsunami of single-use plastic that parents pick up in the form of give-away toys. It turns out that McDonald's are the largest toy distributor in the world, handing out over 1.4 billion plastic toys per year worldwide. They claim on their website that they are recyclable, but a visit to Simon Ellin, the CEO of the Recycling Association, makes it very clear that while that may be true in theory, in reality it’s not that simple. Meanwhile, Hugh is in Scotland. He’s learnt that at the same time as the public are trying to reduce the amount of plastics in their lives, the plastics industry has big plans to increase plastic production by 50% before 2040. To find out more, he visits the INEOS factory in Grangemouth, owned by the richest man in Britain, where they produce a staggering 60-70 billion tiny plastic pellets every day.

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