How Much Pollution Is In The Ocean – This is our main data entry on plastics, with a particular focus on its environmental pollution.

— produced in 1907, marking the beginning of the global plastics industry. However, rapid growth in global plastic production was not realized until the 1950s. Over the next 70 years, the annual production of plastics increased almost 230 times to 460 million tonnes in 2019.

How Much Pollution Is In The Ocean

In order to understand the amount of plastics input into the natural environment and the world’s oceans, we must understand different elements of the chain of production, distribution and management of plastic waste. This is essential, not only in order to understand the extent of the problem but in implementing the most effective interventions for reduction.

Ocean Pollution By Country: Who Are The Biggest Polluters?

The data and images that follow in this entry provide this overview step by step. This overview is summarized in figure.1

In 1950 the world produced just 2 million tonnes a year. Since then, annual production has increased almost 230 times, reaching 460 million tonnes in 2019.

The brief decline in annual production in 2009 and 2010 was largely a result of the global financial crisis of 2008 — a similar dent can be seen across several metrics of production and resource use, including energy.

The chart shows that by 2019, the world had produced 9.5 billion tonnes of plastic – more than one tonne of plastic for every person alive today.

Plastic Pollution Facts

How has global plastic waste disposal changed over time? In the chart we see the proportion of global plastic waste that is thrown away, recycled or incinerated from 1980 to 2015.

Before 1980, recycling and incineration of plastic was trivial; So 100 percent was thrown away. From 1980 for incineration, and 1990 for recycling, rates increased on average by around 0.7 per cent per year.2

In 2015, an estimated 55 percent of global plastic waste was thrown away, 25 percent was incinerated, and 20 percent was recycled.

If we were to extrapolate historical trends up to 2050 — as seen in this chart — by 2050, burn rates would increase to 50 percent; recycling to 44 per cent; and discarded waste would fall to 6 per cent. However, note that this is based on a simplistic extrapolation of historical trends and does not represent definitive projections.

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Eight Million Tonnes Of Plastic Are Going Into The Ocean Each Year

Of the 5800 million tonnes of primary plastic that is no longer used, only 9 per cent has been recycled since 1950.

To which industries and product uses is primary plastic production allocated? In the chart we see the allocation of plastic production by sector for 2015.

Building and construction was the second largest sector using 19 per cent of the total. Primary plastic production does not directly reflect the production of plastic waste (as shown in the next section), as this is also influenced by polymer type and the lifetime of the final product.

This chart shows the use of primary plastics by sector; in the chart we show these same sectors in terms of plastic waste production. The generation of plastic waste is strongly influenced by primary plastic use, but also the product’s lifespan.

Plastic Atlantic Ocean Pollution Has Increased Exponentially

Packaging, for example, has a very short ‘in-use’ life (usually around 6 months or less). This is in contrast to building and construction, where plastic materials have a mean lifespan of 35 years.5

In 2015, primary plastics production was 407 million tonnes; around three quarters (302 million tonnes) was waste.

In the chart we see the per capita rate of plastic waste produced, measured in kilograms per person per day.

Here we see differences around an order of magnitude: daily plastic waste per capita across the top countries – Kuwait, Guyana, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United States – is more than ten times higher than across many countries such as India , Tanzania , Mozambique and Bangladesh.

How Many Pounds Of Trash In The Ocean: A Global Crisis Explored

These figures represent the total amount of plastic waste produced and do not account for differences in waste management, recycling or incineration. They therefore do not represent quantities of plastic that are at risk of being lost to the ocean or other waterways.

Plastic will only enter rivers and the ocean if it is poorly managed. In wealthy countries, almost all of their plastic waste is incinerated, recycled, or sent to well-managed landfills. It is not left exposed to the surrounding environment. Low to middle income countries tend to have poorer waste management infrastructure. Waste can be dumped outside landfills, and landfills that do exist are often open, releasing waste into the surrounding environment.

Mismanaged waste is material that is at high risk of entering the ocean through wind or tidal transport, or being transported to coasts from inland waterways. Mismanaged waste is the amount of material that is either spread or inadequately disposed of. Waste that is inadequately disposed of and that is dumped as litter are different, and are defined in the sections below.

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Mismanaged waste per capita in the Philippines is 100 times higher than in the UK. When we multiply by population (giving the total usable country), India, China, the Philippines, Brazil, and Nigeria top the list. Each country’s share of mismanaged global waste can be seen on the map.

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Not all plastic waste that is mismanaged has the same probability of reaching river networks, and then the ocean.

Climate, terrain, land use, and distances within river basins affect the likelihood of mismanaged plastic waste being released into the ocean.

The distribution of plastic inputs is reflected on the world map. There we see each country’s share of global plastic emissions.

The Philippines accounts for more than a third (36%) of plastic inputs – not surprising given the fact that it is home to seven of the top ten rivers. This is because the Philippines is made up of many small islands where the majority of the population lives near the coast.

How Much Plastic Is In The Ocean?

Plastic in our oceans can come from land or marine sources. Plastics pollution from marine sources refers to the pollution caused by fishing fleets that leave fishing nets, lines, ropes, and sometimes ships behind.

There is often intense debate about the relative importance of marine and land sources for ocean pollution. What is the relative contribution of each?

At a global level, best estimates suggest that around 80 per cent of ocean plastics come from land sources, with the remaining 20 per cent from marine sources.6

Of the 20 per cent of marine sources, it is estimated that around half (10 percentage points) derive from fishing fleets (such as nets, lines and derelict vessels). This is supported by figures from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which suggest that abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear contributes around 10 per cent to total ocean plastics.7

Billion Disposable Masks Entered Our Oceans In 2020

Although uncertain, it is likely that marine sources contribute between 20% and 30% of ocean plastics, but the main source is still land-based input at 70% to 80%.

Although this is the relative contribution as an aggregate of global ocean plastics, the relative contribution of different sources will depend on location and geographic context. For example, our latest estimates of the contribution of marine sources to the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ (GPGP) are that abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear accounts for 75% of 86% of floating plastic mass (more than 5 centimeters ).9 This research suggests that most of this fishing activity originates from five countries – Japan, South Korea, China, the United States and Taiwan.

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In order to tackle plastic pollution we need to know which rivers these plastics come from. It also helps if we understand

Most of the world’s largest emitting rivers are in Asia, with some also in East Africa and the Caribbean.

Ocean Plastic Pollution Is Much Worse Than We Thought And Ends Back In Our Plates

In the chart we see the ten largest contributors.10 This is shown as each river’s share of the global total.

Seven of the top ten rivers are in the Philippines. There are two in India, and one in Malaysia. The Pasig River in the Philippines alone accounts for 6.4% of global river plastics. This paints a very different picture to earlier studies in which Asia’s largest rivers – the Yangtze, Xi, and Huangpu rivers in China, and the Ganges in India – predominated.

Firstly, plastic pollution dominates where local waste management practices are poor. This means that there is a large amount of mismanaged plastic waste that can enter rivers and the ocean in the first place. This makes it clear that improving waste management is essential if we want to tackle plastic pollution. Second, the biggest emitters tend to have cities nearby: this means there are many paved surfaces where water and plastic can drain into river outlets. Cities such as Jakarta in Indonesia and Manila in the Philippines are drained by relatively small rivers but account for a large proportion of plastic emissions. Thirdly, the river basins had high precipitation rates (meaning that plastics were washed into rivers, and the rate of river flow to the ocean was high). Fourth, distance matters: the most emitting rivers had cities nearby and were also very close to the coast.

The authors of the study illustrate the importance of the additional climate, basin land, and proximity factors with a real-life example. The Ciliwung river basin in Java is 275 times smaller than the Rhine river basin in Europe and produces 75% less plastic waste. Yet it emits 100 times as much plastic into the ocean every year (200 to 300 tonnes versus just 3 to 5 tonnes). The Ciliwung River emits much more plastic into the ocean, although it is much less because the basin’s waste is produced very close to the river (which means the plastic goes

New Study Reveals United States A Top Source Of Plastic Pollution In Coastal Environments

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