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Plastic Ocean Waste on the Rise

A recent study has shown that the problem of plastic waste ending up in the ocean is far worse than previously thought. The figures have come about following new calculations made that measure how much waste flows into the oceans each year. Previous figures have always been based on sample counts of plastic floating in some of the worlds ocean garbage patches. The findings were published in ‘Science’ and indicate that in 2010 8 million tonnes of plastic ended up in the ocean from countries on the coast. And if that wasn’t bad news enough it’s thought that the figure will increase 10 times over the next ten years. That is unless the world as a whole finds new ways to improve the collection and management of our waste.

Top Sources of Ocean’s Plastic Waste

Top 10 Ocean's Plastic Waste Offenders

There has been some naming and shaming of the top 20 worst offenders, with China at the top of the list and America featuring at number 20. Eleven other Asian countries are included in the list along with five African countries, Brazil and Turkey. The United States actually has a well managed and highly developed waste collection system but has found its place on the list because of the size and density of its coastal population and the fact that as a wealthy nation it consumes a large number of products.

The report has chosen to look at the problem of waste not from the angle of what’s already out there in our oceans but how much we are likely to be putting in. The discrepancies are quite shocking, from 20 to 20,000 times more than estimates of debris currently floating in our oceans. But it’s hard to imagine exactly what these figures mean so think of it as five grocery bags of trash for every foot of coastline right around the globe. And by 2025 that figure will have increased to 10 bags of rubbish!

Plastic Everywhere

Plastic used in consumer products has been steadily increasing since its introduction 50 years ago. 2012, for example, saw 288 million tons of plastic manufactured across the globe. And unfortunately a high proportion of it seems to end up in the ocean. Pretty sad really when you consider it can be recycled efficiently and effectively. Plastic waste has been found almost everywhere from deep in the sea to buried in Arctic ice. The action of the waves and weather manages to break the plastic into small pieces which gets ingested by marine life and carries on down the food chain, ending up with us!

Posted in Waste Facts and Numbers and tagged ocean waste, plastic. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Plastic Ocean Waste on the Rise

  1. Pingback: Adidas Will Make Sneakers From Ocean Waste - Rubbish Please Rubbish Please

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