What Percent Of The Ocean Is Polluted – Widespread ocean pollution threatens the health of more than 3 billion people, according to an international study led by Boston College researchers
Ocean pollution is widespread and getting worse, and when toxins in the oceans reach land they threaten the health and well-being of more than 3 billion people, according to a new report by an international consortium of scientists conducted by Boston College’s Global Observatory on Pollution. on Health and the Center Scientifique de Monaco, with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
What Percent Of The Ocean Is Polluted
On top of the recommendations to fix ocean pollution, the researchers recommend: banning coal burning and single-use plastics production, controlling coastal pollution, and expanding marine protected areas.
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The study is the first comprehensive study of the effects of ocean pollution on human health. It was published in the online journal Annals of Global Health and presented at the Monaco International Conference on Human Health & the Ocean in a Changing World, convened in Monaco and online by ‘ Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Center Scientifique de Monaco and Boston College.
“Simply put: Ocean pollution is a major global problem, it’s growing, and it directly affects human health,” said Professor Philip Landrigan, MD, director of the observatory and the Public Health Program. Global and the Common Good. “People have heard about plastic pollution in the oceans, but that is only part of it. Research shows that the oceans are polluted with a complex peak of toxins causing a- include mercury, pesticides, industrial chemicals, petroleum waste, agricultural runoff, and manufactured chemicals embedded in plastic. These toxic substances in the ocean get into humans, mainly through eating contaminated seafood.”
Landrigan noted, “We are all at risk, but the people most affected are the people in coastal fishing communities, people in small island nations, indigenous peoples and people in the Arctic high The survival of these vulnerable populations depends on the health of the oceans.”
The oceans cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Despite their size, the oceans are under threat, mainly due to human activity, according to the findings, drawn from 584 scientific reports, which detail :
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Prince Albert of Monaco said the analysis can be used to mobilize a global solution to prevent marine pollution.
“The link between ocean pollution and human health has, for a long time, given rise to very few studies,” Prince Albert wrote in an introduction to the report. plastic, water and industrial waste, chemicals, hydrocarbons, to name a few – on human health should mean that this risk must be permanently included in international scientific activity.
“This document on Human Health and the Ocean, prepared with grants from the Monaco Science Center and Boston College, proves that ocean pollution is not inevitable,” he said.
“The main thing to realize about ocean pollution is that, like all pollution, it can be prevented by using laws, policies, technology and enforcement actions that target the most important sources of pollution. ,” Landrigan said. “Many countries have used these tools and cleaned dirty harbors, restored estuaries, and restored coral reefs. The results are increased tourism, restored fisheries, better human health, and economic growth. These benefits will last for centuries.”
How Does Plastic Get Into The Ocean?
The report is being released in conjunction with the Monaco Declaration: Improving Human Health and Well-Being by Preventing Ocean Pollution, which was read at the closing session of the conference.
Supported by scientists, physicians and global stakeholders who participated in the conference in person in Monaco and virtually, the declaration summarizes the main findings and conclusions of the Monaco Commission on Human Health and Ocean Pollution. Based on the recognition that all life on Earth depends on the health of the oceans, the authors call on leaders and citizens of all countries to “protect human health and preserve our Common Home by acting now to end ocean pollution.”
Additional participants in the conference include the Government of the Principality of Monaco, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Monaco Oceanographic Institute, the French National Center for Scientific Research, Mediterranean Science Commission, Europe. The Marine Board, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Co-author and marine toxicologist John Stegeman is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and director of the NSF- and NIH-funded Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health. Stegeman was joined by a team of colleagues at WHOI that included toxicologist Mark Hahn, biologist Donald Anderson, and marine chemist Chris Reddy.
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Boston College researchers also contributing to the report include Samantha Fisher, Jenna Mu, Hariharan Shanmugam, and Gabriella Taghian.
“Our Global Observatory on Pollution and Health at Boston College is very proud to have partnered with the Center Scientifique de Monaco and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to produce this report and the Declaration develop Monaco,” said Landrigan. This work advances the mission of the Schiller Institute for Science and Integrated Society at Boston College to use scientific research to benefit society, and fulfills the calling of ‘ Pope Francis in This is our main data entry on plastics, with a particular focus on pollution of the materials. environment.
– was 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, annual production of plastic increased almost 230-fold to 460 million tons in 2019.
To understand the scale of plastic input into the world’s natural environment and oceans, we need to understand different elements of the plastic production chain, distribution and waste management. This is essential, not only in understanding the scale of the problem but in implementing the most effective interventions to reduce it.
Chart: The Rivers Filling The Oceans With Plastic
The following data and images in this entry provide this overview step by step. This perspective is summarized in figure.1
In 1950 the world produced just 2 million tons per year. Since then, annual production has increased almost 230-fold, reaching 460 million tons in 2019.
The brief decline in annual production in 2009 and 2010 was largely the result of the 2008 global financial crisis – a similar dent is visible across several metrics of resource production and consumption, including energy.
The chart shows that by 2019, the world had produced 9.5 billion tonnes of plastic – more than a tonne of plastic for every person alive today.
Chart: Plastic Items Dominate Ocean Garbage
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, there was little recycling and burning of plastic; So 100 percent was thrown away. Since 1980 for incineration, and 1990 for recycling, rates have increased by an average of about 0.7 percent per year.2
In 2015, about 55 percent of global plastic waste was thrown away, 25 percent was incinerated, and 20 percent was recycled.
If we extrapolate historical trends until 2050 — as shown in the chart here — by 2050, burn rates will rise to 50 percent; recycling to 44 percent; and the discarded waste would drop to 6 percent. However, note that this is based on a simplified projection of historical trends and does not represent concrete projections.
Where Does The Plastic In Our Oceans Come From?
Of the 5800 million tons of primary plastics that are no longer used, only 9 percent has been recycled since 1950.
To which industries and product uses is the main production of plastic allocated? In the chart we see the distribution of plastic production by sector for 2015.
Building and construction was the second largest sector using 19 percent of the total. Primary plastic production does not directly reflect the generation of plastic waste (as shown in the next section), as this also affects the type of polymer and the life of the final product.
This chart shows the use of primary plastics by sector; in the chart we show these same categories in terms of plastic waste generation. The use of primary plastic has a strong impact on the generation of plastic waste, but also the life of the product.
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For example, packaging has a very short ‘use-by’ life (usually around 6 months or less). This is in contrast to building and construction, where plastic use has an average lifespan of 35 years
In 2015, primary plastic production was 407 million tons; about three-quarters (302 million tons) ended up as waste.
In the chart we can see the per capita amount of plastic waste generation, measured in kilograms per person per day.
Here we see differences of 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.
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These figures represent total plastic waste generation and do not account for differences in waste management, recycling or incineration. They therefore do not represent quantities of plastic at risk of loss to the ocean or other waterways.
Plastic will only end up in rivers and the ocean if it is poorly managed. In rich countries, almost
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