A new study has revealed that plastic pollution in oceans has reached unprecedented levels. Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans has reached “record levels” in the last 15 years. This is according to a new study, which calls for a legally binding international pact to stop the toxic trash.
Ocean plastic pollution is a global issue; animals may become entangled in bigger pieces of plastic, such as fishing nets, or eat microplastics. This eventually enters the food chain and is consumed by humans.
According to a study published on Wednesday, there are an estimated 170 trillion pieces of plastic. These are mostly microplastics, on the surface of the world’s oceans now, with much of it discarded since 2005.
“Plastic pollution in the world’s seas has reached record levels in the previous 15 years.” This is according to the study, which was published in the open-access journal PLOS One.
The numbers were larger than prior projections, and the study indicated that if nothing is done. The rate at which plastic enters the oceans might increase severalfold in the coming decades.
Researchers collected plastic samples from approximately 11,000 locations around the world between 1979 and 2019, focusing on a 40-year timeframe.
They discovered no trends until 1990, then a fluctuation in trends from 1990 to 2005. Following that, the sample count skyrockets.
“We see a pretty significant increase after 2005 since there is a quick increase in manufacturing. “There are also a limited number of measures that prevent the release of plastic into the water,” AFP contributor Lisa Erdle explained.
Sources of Plastic Pollution
There are various sources of plastic contamination in the water.
Fishing gear, such as nets and buoys, frequently winds up in the middle of the ocean after being dumped or dropped by accident, whereas clothing, car tyres, and single-use plastics frequently pollute closer to the coast.
These eventually break down into microplastics, which Erdle said can seem like “confetti on the surface of the ocean”.
According to the analysis, which was co-produced by Economist Impact and The Nippon Foundation, plastic use in G20 countries will nearly quadruple from 2019 to 2050, hitting 451 million tonnes per year. Only two million tonnes of plastic were produced worldwide in 1950.
Recycling has done nothing to assist the pollution problem. This is true even in countries with modern waste management systems. This is because only a small fraction of plastics are adequately recycled, with the majority ending up in landfills instead.
Plastic garbage can leach into the environment if landfills are not adequately managed, eventually reaching the oceans. “We truly witness a lack of recycling, as well as a flood of harmful items and packaging,” Erdle explained.
Plastic waste rates were reported to have declined at several stages between 1990 and 2005. These are due in part to the implementation of efficient pollution-control laws.
This includes the 1988 MARPOL convention, which established a legally binding agreement among 154 countries to prohibit the discharge of plastics from naval, fishing, and commercial fleets.
But, with so much more plastic being created today, the study’s authors believe a new, comprehensive pact is required to not only cut plastic production and usage but also properly manage its disposal.
“Environmental recovery of plastic has limited validity. Hence, solutions must address those systems that limit plastic pollution emissions in the first place,” according to the report.
Plans to Eradicate PlasticPollution
Last year, 175 countries pledged to eradicate plastic pollution. This is part of a legally binding United Nations pact that could be finalized as early as next year.
A global ban on single-use plastics, a “polluter pays” program, and a tariff on the manufacture of new plastics are among the important acts being negotiated.
According to the PLOS study, the total weight of plastic pollution identified in the ocean today is expected to be 2.3 million tonnes.
It looked at samples from the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, and Mediterranean oceans.
Things to Know
The accumulation of plastic products and microplastics in the environment, notably in oceans, lakes, and rivers, is referred to as plastic pollution. It occurs when plastic products are thrown out inappropriately rather than recycled or disposed of responsibly.
Plastic garbage can stay in the environment for hundreds of years, posing a serious hazard to species and ecosystems. Plastic pollution can affect marine life by ingesting or entangling it, and it can also harm human health by consuming polluted seafood or drinking water.
Also, plastic pollution reduction is a global challenge that will require coordinated actions from individuals, governments, and companies.
Efforts Made to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is a global environmental issue that has received a lot of attention in recent years due to its detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Many groups, governments, and individuals have worked to reduce plastic pollution. Below are some of the most important actions:
 Bans on Single-Use Plastics: In order to prevent plastic pollution, governments have outlawed single-use plastic bags, straws, and other disposable plastic products. To discourage the use of plastic bags, some governments have levied tariffs on them.
 Recycling: Recycling is an important step in the reduction of plastic pollution. Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have initiated recycling initiatives to encourage individuals to recycle plastic garbage.
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Work Towards Reducing Plastic Pollution In Ocean
Plastic pollution in the water is a severe issue that endangers marine habitats and species. Individual, corporate, and governmental efforts have all been made to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.
Individual efforts to prevent plastic pollution in the ocean include adopting reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and containers and minimizing personal plastic usage.
Correctly disposing of plastic debris, whether through recycling or in a garbage can, can also help keep it out of the ocean.
Business measures include decreasing plastic packaging and boosting the use of recyclable materials. Also, investing in plastic alternatives that are more environmentally friendly.
To prevent plastic pollution, businesses can also create recycling programs and collaborate with environmental organizations.
Many initiatives have been taken by governments to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. Many countries, for example, have prohibited single-use plastic bags and straws. Also, some have instituted bottle deposit schemes to encourage recycling.
Furthermore, international treaties such as the United Nations’ Clean Oceans campaign and the Plastic Pollution Coalition attempt to reduce global plastic pollution.
Beach cleanups, education and awareness campaigns, and the development of new solutions such as biodegradable plastics and ocean cleaning technologies are among the other attempts to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.
Ultimately, eliminating plastic pollution in the ocean necessitates a multifaceted approach with individuals, corporations, and governments working together to address this crucial issue.