Littered Plastic Waste and Ocean Pollution
“More fish in the ocean or more plastic in the ocean?” We might all have heard this at least once. Doesn’t sound as scary. But did you ever wonder about the seriousness of the saying? By 2050, the ratio of plastic waste to fish in the ocean is predicted to be 1:1 or >1:1. This means that there will be an equal or more amount of plastic waste than fish in the oceans.
The photo of a sea turtle or a tortoise having a straw in its mouth has become infamous. While that is one side of the truth, the other side is, fishnets harm them as much as plastic waste does. They strangle them which makes it extremely difficult for aquatic life to get out of.
1000 turtles die each year from being tangled by plastic waste
52% of all sea turtles have eaten plastic particles that are disposed of in the oceansWWF
Most of the unwanted things in the oceans, such as plastic waste and other types of waste, come from human activities. Industrialization, urbanization, modernization, and various other developments produce a lot of plastic waste. These wastes, if not treated properly before disposing of, end up in the ocean and spoil aquatic life.
In this blog, we’ll talk about what and where of the ocean plastic pollution.
Stats and Figures on Ocean Plastic Waste
Here are a few facts about marine plastic pollution/waste that you should know.
- 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic waste are floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, making the patch 3 times the size of France!” This gyre of plastic debris is the largest accumulation of plastic waste in the world.
- Of the entire plastic waste generation in the world, 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans. This adds up to 80% of all the plastic waste in the oceans.
- 80% of the solid waste in oceans are plastics, glass, metal, textiles and clothes, processed wood, paper and rubber.
- Most of the plastic waste in the oceans is found on its surface, which adds up to 95%. And the plastic waste found on coasts adds up to 83%.
- 49% of plastic waste is in river beds, 64% in depths near coastal areas and 77% in deep seabed.
- There are now 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic waste in our ocean & 46,000 pieces in every square mile of ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.
- Between 8 to 14 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our ocean every year.
What is Ocean Debris/Plastic Waste?
One of the categories of marine/ocean debris is plastic. Ocean plastic is any plastic waste that reaches the ocean; where it does not belong. To summarize, ocean plastic is any human-generated plastic waste that is discharged into water bodies or coastal environments.
Any manufactured, anthropogenic or processed solid material irrespective of its size, the shape comes in the category of ocean debris. In addition to this, any material that is abandoned, discarded, discharged, or disposed of or indirectly ends up in the ocean is considered ocean debris.
Where does Ocean Plastic Waste come from?
We see plastic waste washing up on shores and coasts from the ocean. But have you ever wondered how and from where the plastic waste ends up in oceans?
Around 80% of ocean pollution/plastic waste comes from land.
90% of the ocean plastic scrap comes from 10 major rivers, according to a World Economic Forum report. It is a known fact that smaller rivers tend to carry tons of plastic waste into the ocean along with other debris. As rivers lead into the ocean, so does the plastic waste.
Cleaning up the ocean is a solution, but that won’t solve the problem. Just like any other problem, this too should be solved at the root. What’s the root cause of increasing plastic waste in the oceans? Generation of plastic waste on land, improper disposal of waste. Abruption of the flow of plastic waste into oceans is the start of solving marine pollution.
Solving the problem of plastic waste on land is in our hands. To help the same, we offer take-back programs and EPR services for brands, businesses and organizations. Click on the link you are interested in to learn more about them.