Growing Plastic Waste in Our Oceans

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Plastic Waste in Our Oceans.

According to projections by a Paris-based organization, the total amount of oceanic plastic waste is likely to more than double by 2030, and then keep getting worse, if action isn’t taken now… Arresting images of strangled turtles and tropical waves clogged with garbage have helped raise awareness about the threat to oceans from plastic waste… It’s estimated that around 100 million metric tons of plastic waste has already “leaked” into oceans, an amount that’s increasing annually by 5 million to 15 million tons, according to IEA. Bloomberg

Earth Day Network presented some facts on how plastic is proving dangerous to our planet and health.

  1. About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually.
  2. There are five massive patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. The one between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of Texas.
  3. Plastic is found in the ocean as far as 11km deep, meaning synthetic fibers have contaminated even the most remote places on Earth.
  4. There is more plastic than natural prey at the sea surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which means that organisms feeding at this area are likely to have plastic as a major component of their diets. Many fish humans consume, including brown trout, cisco, and perch, have plastic microfibers.

According to a 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam dump more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined… But this isn’t just an Asia problem. Plastic is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world. The US wasted about 33.6 million tons of plastic, and only 9.5% was recycled. Forbes

In June the Group of Seven’s (G7) the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom pledged to combat ocean pollution through a G7 Ocean Plastics Charter. The United States and Japan declined to put their names on the resolution. According to Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan, Governments must move beyond voluntary agreements to legislate binding reduction targets and bans on single-use plastics, invest in new and reuse delivery models for products, and hold corporations accountable for the problem they have created. DW

To tackle the ocean plastic waste issue, a high commitment of states is required. Therefore, in this regard an international binding treaty is of paramount importance. As nonbinding resolutions have not been able to achieve what is required to save the oceans with regards to plastic waste regulations. Additionally, national laws on marine plastic waste can be beneficial.  Secondly Green campaigners/NGOs must continue to spread the message of eco-friendly utensils. Thirdly, if individuals avoid using plastic bags, plastic bottles, beverage cups, plastic cutlery and plastic straws, low demand will automatically reduce the supply of one-time use plastic products.

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