According to a recent report, not only is there are already eight million metric tons of plastic winding up in our oceans each year, but the amount is set to increase dramatically in the next ten years.
The report, published in a recent issue of the journal Science, says the amount of plastic is akin to “five plastic grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world,” according to Jenna Jambeck, lead author of the study and assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georgia.
By 2025, “the amount of plastic projected to be entering the oceans would constitute the equivalent of 10 bags per foot of coastline,” reports the New York Times.
Ten bags per foot. That’s barely enough space to fit one bag of groceries. But that just illustrates how much plastic waste we’re making as a species and the detriment to our oceans.
“The researchers, from the United States and Australia, derived their estimates through a complex calculation that began with the overall mass of waste produced per person annually in 192 nations that have coastlines, worked through the proportion of that waste likely to be plastic, and how much of the plastic could end up in the ocean because of each nation’s waste management practices,” reports the Times. “The researchers then projected the amount of waste going forward based on population growth estimates.”
The research also lists the world’s 20 worst plastic polluters, which includes China and the United States.
“According to the estimate, China tops the list, producing as much as 3.5 million metric tons of marine debris each year,” explains the Times. “The United States, which generates as much as 110,000 metric tons of marine debris a year, came in at No. 20.”
We can make the outcome different, though. It may not seem like much, but avoiding plastic bottles, bags and containers as much as possible will help. If you can’t avoid plastic products, can you reuse or repurpose them or make sure they’re being recycled? Isn’t preserving our oceans and marine life worth a few extra steps on our part as consumers?
Comments will be approved before showing up.