How much plastic is in the oceans?
Answer: More than 170 trillion pieces, according to a new study published in early March 2023. This unprecedented level of plastic pollution started escalating rapidly in 2005, and will increase 2.6 times by 2040 if rapid and effective measures are not taken, the study reports.
Using data from hundreds of research projects from 1979 to 2019, the study tracks plastic over time. Organized by the 5 Gyres Institute, it is just in time to help inform United Nations efforts to negotiate a global and legally binding plastic treaty by 2024.
But according to CNN, there are, “big divisions remaining over whether this should include cuts in plastic manufacturing, which is predicted to quadruple by 2050”.
CNN quoted Judith Enck, President of the plastic research and consumer education non-profit Beyond Plastics. ”The plastics and petrochemical industries are making it impossible to curb the amount of plastic contaminating our oceans,” she told them via email.
“New research is always helpful, but we don’t need to wait for new research to take action – the problem is already painfully clear, in the plastic accumulation in our oceans, air, soil, food, and bodies.”