Facts About Ocean Plastic Pollution
About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. With such a vast proportion consisting of our oceans, the volume of plastic waste entering the ocean is monumental. In this blog, we are going to share 15 staggering plastic ocean pollution facts.
15 Ocean Plastic Pollution Facts
- Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world’s oceans today. (Sources: UN Environment Programme, Marine Pollution Bulletin)
2. At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.
3. Plastic debris in the ocean is estimated to outweigh fish by 2050. (Sources: World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
4. 25 trillion macro & 51 trillion microplastics litter our oceans and are particularly present in marine ecosystems. This impacts both the food chain and water supply.
5. 100,000 marine species and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution every year. This is from mistaking plastics for food and becoming tangled in floating plastics.
6. The majority of the plastic found in the ocean are tiny pieces less than 1 cm. in size, with the mass of 1/10 of a paper clip.
8. Ocean currents can concentrate plastic debris into specific areas, such as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” located between Hawaii and California. (Sources: National Geographic, Scientific Reports)
9. Plastic pollution in the ocean has a significant economic impact, with damages estimated to be in the billions of dollars per year.
10. Our coral reefs house some 25% of all marine life known to man. When it comes in contact with marine plastic, the probability of it dying goes from 4%-89%.
11. Every year, 11 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean.
12. An estimated 300 million plastic bags every year end up in the Atlantic Ocean alone.
13. 79% of plastic waste is sent to landfills or the ocean. 9% is recycled and 12% incinerated.
14. Between 500,000 to 1 million tons of ghost fishing gear are left in the ocean every year.
15. 46% of the plastic items we create floats, it can take years of currents before ending up in the ocean’s gyres.
Plastic Ocean Pollution Infographic
The Impact Of Ocean Plastic Pollution
Millions of tons of plastics find their way into the seas, where many break down into countless pieces called microplastics.
These microplastics are insidious. They infiltrate the ocean food chain, from tiny plankton to large marine mammals, and even end up on our dinner plates. The effects ripple through the ecosystem, causing harm at every level.
The toxins in the plastics can accumulate, potentially harming our health. Meanwhile, marine life faces a grim reality, with countless creatures becoming entangled or choked by larger pieces of plastic debris.
The impact of ocean plastic pollution is far-reaching, affecting both the environment and our own well-being. It’s a stark reminder of the urgent need to address this crisis and reduce our reliance on disposable plastics.
How Can We Stop Plastic Ocean Pollution
To stop ocean plastic pollution, a multi-faceted approach is needed that involves individuals, businesses, and governments. Firstly, reducing our usage of single-use plastics is essential. This can be done by using reusable bags, water bottles, and containers and avoiding products with excessive packaging.
Secondly, proper waste management practices must be implemented, such as increased recycling and reducing littering. Governments can play a crucial role by passing laws to regulate plastic production and waste disposal. Businesses can also make a difference by using more sustainable packaging materials and implementing eco-friendly practices in their supply chains. Finally, educating the public about the importance of reducing plastic waste and the impact it has on the ocean is crucial in creating a culture of sustainability.