Plastic Entering Oceans Could Nearly Triple By 2040 If Left Unchecked

Plastics entering the world’s oceans may nearly triple by 2040 if the situation is left unchecked, according to a recent study. The amount of seaborne plastic waste has surged dramatically since 2005, to an estimated 171 trillion plastic particles by 2019, according to research published on March 8 by the 5 Gyres Institute, a U.S.-based non-profit working to reduce plastic pollution. The organization claims to have covered more than 50,000 nautical miles on 19 research expeditions over 10 years, combing the oceans for plastic and discovering 5.25 trillion particles of plastic smog, equaling 270,000 metric tons. Experts say that over 300 million tonnes of plastic products are produced worldwide annually, while the amount of waste generated from the plastics gradually accumulates every year. Although scientists have so far only discovered a few hundred thousand tonnes on the ocean’s surface, the study reported that the total amount of marine plastic pollution has been underestimated. Experts estimate that around 3 percent of the plastic waste generated, or 8 million tonnes, enters the ocean every year, primarily via rivers, wastewater systems, fishing activities, and landfills. Marine Plastic Waste NGO Sounds The Alarm Pollution caused by marine-borne plastics is predicted to grow 260 percent in 17 years if legally enforceable global agreements are not introduced, according to 5 Gyres. The researchers said they reviewed surface-level plastic pollution data from 1979 to 2019, which covered 11,777 ocean stations in six major marine regions. “We’ve found an alarming trend of exponential growth in microplastics in the global ocean since the millennium,” said Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of the 5 Gyres Group. Waterborne plastics often fragment into smaller pieces called microplastics through photo-degradation, mechanical degradation, and thermal degradation. Microplastics are considered to be a major threat to the world’s oceans, as they often damage the internal organs of marine animals once they get into the water, as the victims often mistake the plastic for food. “Filter feeders like baleen whales are more prone to ingest microplastics, as they swim continuously with their mouths wide open. Porpoises might ingest them too. We just don’t know yet; because microplastics are so tiny, they are hard to detect. There is still a lot to discover about the toxicity and the health risks they might cause,” said Lonneke IJsseldijk a biologist at Utrecht University. Environmental Groups Call for UN Treaty to Restrict Plastics Greenpeace said that a strong global treaty is needed or plastic production could double within the next 10 to 15 years, and triple by 2050. “We need a strong legally binding U.N. global treaty on plastic pollution that stops the problem at the source,” said Eriksen. The United Nations has been working on an agreement to tackle plastic pollution since November, in order to formulate a legally binding treaty to handle the marine pollution crisis by the end of 2024. Meanwhile, members of the United Nations separately agreed to a deal for an international treaty on March 4, to help protect biodiversity throughout the seas. The brokered ocean accord, also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction agreement, would classify 30 percent of the world’s oceans as protected areas. That would require regular environmental impact assessments to help protect and restore the ocean’s biodiversity. The new agreement “gives a fundamental commitment to make sure that the global good can come together to manage the ocean area responsibly,” Alan Evans, a technical advisor to the UK delegation, told Bloomberg.

Plastic Entering Oceans Could Nearly Triple By 2040 If Left Unchecked

Plastics entering the world’s oceans may nearly triple by 2040 if the situation is left unchecked, according to a recent study.

The amount of seaborne plastic waste has surged dramatically since 2005, to an estimated 171 trillion plastic particles by 2019, according to research published on March 8 by the 5 Gyres Institute, a U.S.-based non-profit working to reduce plastic pollution.

The organization claims to have covered more than 50,000 nautical miles on 19 research expeditions over 10 years, combing the oceans for plastic and discovering 5.25 trillion particles of plastic smog, equaling 270,000 metric tons.

Experts say that over 300 million tonnes of plastic products are produced worldwide annually, while the amount of waste generated from the plastics gradually accumulates every year.

Although scientists have so far only discovered a few hundred thousand tonnes on the ocean’s surface, the study reported that the total amount of marine plastic pollution has been underestimated.

Experts estimate that around 3 percent of the plastic waste generated, or 8 million tonnes, enters the ocean every year, primarily via rivers, wastewater systems, fishing activities, and landfills.

Marine Plastic Waste NGO Sounds The Alarm

Pollution caused by marine-borne plastics is predicted to grow 260 percent in 17 years if legally enforceable global agreements are not introduced, according to 5 Gyres.

The researchers said they reviewed surface-level plastic pollution data from 1979 to 2019, which covered 11,777 ocean stations in six major marine regions.

“We’ve found an alarming trend of exponential growth in microplastics in the global ocean since the millennium,” said Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of the 5 Gyres Group.

Waterborne plastics often fragment into smaller pieces called microplastics through photo-degradation, mechanical degradation, and thermal degradation.

Microplastics are considered to be a major threat to the world’s oceans, as they often damage the internal organs of marine animals once they get into the water, as the victims often mistake the plastic for food.

“Filter feeders like baleen whales are more prone to ingest microplastics, as they swim continuously with their mouths wide open. Porpoises might ingest them too. We just don’t know yet; because microplastics are so tiny, they are hard to detect. There is still a lot to discover about the toxicity and the health risks they might cause,” said Lonneke IJsseldijk a biologist at Utrecht University.

Environmental Groups Call for UN Treaty to Restrict Plastics

Greenpeace said that a strong global treaty is needed or plastic production could double within the next 10 to 15 years, and triple by 2050.

“We need a strong legally binding U.N. global treaty on plastic pollution that stops the problem at the source,” said Eriksen.

The United Nations has been working on an agreement to tackle plastic pollution since November, in order to formulate a legally binding treaty to handle the marine pollution crisis by the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, members of the United Nations separately agreed to a deal for an international treaty on March 4, to help protect biodiversity throughout the seas.

The brokered ocean accord, also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction agreement, would classify 30 percent of the world’s oceans as protected areas.

That would require regular environmental impact assessments to help protect and restore the ocean’s biodiversity.

The new agreement “gives a fundamental commitment to make sure that the global good can come together to manage the ocean area responsibly,” Alan Evans, a technical advisor to the UK delegation, told Bloomberg.