Research: 30 times more Plastic in Oceans by 2025
For the first time, it’s calculated how much plastic ends in the oceans: at least 5 billion tons a year.
Nineteen times more than thought.
Without measures, the plastic soup will increased thirty times in 2025! For certain marine animal populations, almost every animal has plastic in its stomach.
Up until now, estimates have been very rough. Jenna Jambeck, at the University of Georgia, did a research to figure out what’s out to measure how much debris is coming off the land. She published her findings in this week’s issue of the journal Science.
Jambeck studied waste streams in 192 countries, close to the sea. She gathered data on how much waste each country generates and how each nation deals with its trash. She calculated how much is plastic and how much exists within 30 miles of an ocean. Researchers also inventoried what was on beaches.
5 bags of plastic trash every foot of coastline
In 2010 there were 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean globally. Plastic bottles, candy wrappers, laundry baskets, synthetic rope, and syringes. According to Jambeck’s calculations, that’s like putting five bags of plastic trash on every foot of coastline in the world.
Jambeck calls her calculation “an order of magnitude” estimate — not exact, but in the ballpark.
Blown to the sea
Waste that’s roams in the environment close to the ocean, is going to be blown or be washed into the ocean.Or it could be washed into rivers and then flow from there.
China and Indonesia are the biggest polluters in the world. Americans generate a lot of plastic trash. They don’t have as much recycling or as many managed landfills as countries like the U.S. does. And they have long coastlines.
600 species of marine animals affected
According to Nick Mallos, Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, plastic affects more than 600 species of marine animals.
“That ranges,” he says, “from mussels (both farmed and wild) to fin fish and sea turtles, all the way up to fin whales — through risks of entanglement and also through ingestion.”
And because plastic can absorb chemicals in the ocean – means toxic chemicals could get passed on to fish that eat the plastic – there are a lot of questions about what that means for the food chain.
If we don’t switch to less plastics, recycle plastic, stop mixing shampoos with micro plastics and use only biodegradable materials now, than the amount of plastic in the ocean will be 30 times more in 2025!
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