The study, released on Tuesday, found that a whopping 32 percent of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and finds its way into natural ecosystems, including the oceans.Currently, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year — the equivalent of a dump truck of plastic rubbish every minute.
At current rates, that will have grown to two trucks a minute by 2030, and four a minute by 2050 — by which time, by weight, there will be as much plastic in the oceans as fish.
“One of the biggest problems [to] focus on is single use and disposable plastic,” Dianna Cohen, CEO of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Based on interviews with more than 180 experts in the field, the report found that most plastic packaging is used only once before being discarded.
“There is no system in place that helps take these [plastic] materials back [after use]. It impacts the entire ecosystem in the ocean. If you come from a country that gets its primary livelihood or protein source from the ocean, then the fish you may count on to eat is ingesting plastic, getting entangled in it, and dying from having stomachs full of it.” ( Dianna Cohen)
Currently, only 14% of the plastic packaging material is recycled. For paper, the figure is 58%, while for iron and steel — from 70 to 90%.
NASA research put together into a video showing how the ocean’s garbage patches formed over the last 35 years.