New Wave Media

January 21, 2016

Oceans Will Have More Plastic than Fish by 2050

Image: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Image: US Fish and Wildlife Service

 The world’s oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if current business practices are continued, according to a report released by the  World Economic Forum (WEF).

 
Researchers warned 8 million metric tons of plastics currently find their way into the ocean every year - the equivalent of one truckload every minute.
 
At current rates, this will worsen to four truckloads per minute in 2050 and outstrip native life to become the largest mass inhabiting the oceans. 
 
The report 'The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics' by the WEF and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which urges more recycling and reduced waste, goes on to note that the production of plastic materials has increased twentyfold since 1964. 
 
Also, plastics now make up around 15 percent of all parts in cars and roughly 50 percent of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
 
In 2013 alone, more than $260 billion worth of plastic packaging was released into the market — that's more than 85 million tons.
 
Entitled "The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics," the report contains plenty of sickening statistics about the amount of plastic polluting the ocean, like how 150 million tons of plastic are floating in areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where sea currents cause floating plastic to accumulate.
 
The vast majority of plastics is not effectively recycled, either, according to the report. Only 5 percent is properly recycled, while 40 percent is sent to a landfill and a third ends up in the environment, including in the world’s oceans. 
 
The economic cost of all that pollution, along with the greenhouse gases emitted in the making of plastic packaging, is conservatively estimated at $40 billion annually, more than the total combined profits of the plastic packaging industry.
 
The report concludes that the plastics industry is not doing nearly enough to address plastic pollution.  Experts predict that by 2050, the amount of plastics produced globally will increase three times to 1,124 million tons, according to CNN Money.
 
plasticsthe BoeingWorld Economic Forum