Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Some HARD facts:
Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years.
The world produces 381 million tonnes in plastic waste yearly – this is set to double by 2034. 50% of this is single-use plastic & only 9% has ever been recycled.
More than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year.
100% of baby sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs.
Over 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging are used in the UK each year. 88% of the sea's surface is polluted by plastic waste.
Between 8 to 14 million tonnes enters our ocean every year.
Production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.
Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.
Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable. But many of these additives can extend the life of products if they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to break down.
In 2010 approximately 275 million metric tonnes of plastic waste were generated by 192 countries, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tonnes entering the ocean.
Over 700 million metric tonnes of plastic fibres have been produced and washing a single garment releases more than 1900 individual fibres into our rivers and oceans.
As of 2010 an estimated 11.1 billion items of plastic are thought to be in the Asia-Pacific region alone and this is expected to increase to 15.7 billion by 2025.
Over 700 different species have been documented to have had some form of negative interaction with marine litter, mainly plastics.
'Ghost gear' is derelict fishing gear which is lost or abandoned at sea, is likely to be one of the most significant threats in marine ecosystems and over 46% of plastics found in the ‘floating garbage patches’ (or gyres which are like a spiral effect in the ocean) are made up of this plastic type.
The additive effects of climate change and other stressors, like plastic pollution, are unknown.
By 2020 the number of plastics in the sea will be higher than the number of fish.
1 in 3 fish caught for human consumption contains plastic.
Plastic microbeads are estimated to be one million times more toxic than the seawater around it.
Macroplastics impact reefs by:
A) Direct physical, mechanical damage.
B) The introduction of pathogenic agents ‘hitchhiking’ on the plastics.
C) ‘Overtopping’ phototrophic animals preventing light from reaching tissue and creating low oxygen levels.
D) Direct ingestion and gut blockage ) Entanglement and entrapment.
Let's start making those conscience efforts now to change. This virtually indestructible plastic simply will not just dissolve and disappear. If we ignore the reality of the pollution issue’s in our oceans we will continue to contaminate what is leave of our marine lives food chain, from phytoplankton to the beautiful whales in the water below us. I fear if we as a society don’t stand together and encourage one another to make changes in our everyday use of plastic, by the time the real studies surface of the damage we have caused, we will not be able to turn back time. The plastic waste distributed in these current massive amounts will be embedded in our oceans wildlife forever.