Around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year. And like that’s not enough, a UK government report from early 2018 estimates, that the amount of plastic in the oceans is going to triple within the coming decade. In addition, World Economic Forum has estimated, that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans by weight than fish!
Plastics are very tricky for the environment because of their way to “decompose”. Plastic doesn’t just disappear by breaking down. It just disintegrates into smaller fragments – microplastics. Marine ecologist Dr Linsey Haram, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center describes the nature of plastics: “Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down,” Haram notes. “And even so, it’s not as if they’re disintegrating and becoming part of the natural substrate or sediment. They’re just breaking down into smaller and smaller fragments.”
Fortunately the world seems to acknowledge the plastic problem and there has been some recent development in the war against plastic. For example, changing policies like European Commission’s new rules targeted to reduce single-use plastic products is a shift toward cleaner oceans. But without a doubt, much more needs to be done.
You can read more about the future of our oceans and the plastic problem in Twentyfour7’s article here.