Much of the plastic that does not end up in landfill or go through other waste management pathways (such as recycling or incineration) is thought to end up in the ocean. Hardesty said there were imperfections in the estimates, but they were based on the best available information. At last count, there were at least 8.3 billion tons of plastic in the world. This invention, which he named Bakelite, was nothing extraordinary until the 1960s when businesses realized that plastic could be used as packaging material. Animal entanglement, microplastic ingestion, bioaccumulation of toxins, endocrine system disruption in humans - these are just a few of the devastating effects that plastic pollution has on us and the environment. In September, a study estimated that in 2016 between 19m and 23m tonnes of plastic found its way into both rivers and ocean. Scientists predict by 2050, there will be more plastic in our seas than there are fish. Production is expected to double by 2050. While it’s tough to say exactly how much plastic is in the ocean, scientists think about 8 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010. She said the new study was an important contribution to global efforts, and hoped the deep-sea data from Australia could be combined with other efforts worldwide for future studies to get a more accurate picture. Between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, according to figures published in the journal Science in 2015 . Sorry. This is more evidence that we need to stop this at the source.”. Researchers looked at 51 samples and found that after excluding the weight of the water, each gram of sediment contained an average of 1.26 microplastic pieces. Dr Julia Reisser, a marine biologist at the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, has been researching plastic pollution for 15 years. A previous study in the journal Science has estimated about 8.5m tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. Half of the plastics that land in the ocean are less dense than water, meaning that they float. The world uses 500 billion single-use plastic bags every year. Analysis of ocean sediments from as deep as 3km suggests there could be more than 30 times as much plastic at the bottom of the world’s ocean than there is floating at the surface. But then it really took off. Six decades after its commercialization, the plastic is wreaking environmental havoc across the globe by clogging drainage systems, choking rivers and accumulating in the ocean. Marine plastic debris is one of the most pressing environmental concerns facing the world today. (Image: © Shutterstock) We're drowning in plastic. Correction (March 12th 2018): The headline of this piece previously stated that only 7% of the world's plastic is recycled. #8: 16 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year. What types of plastic are the most damaging and just how big is the problem? 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced each year around the world. Production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Located between California and Hawaii, the patch covers an area twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France. Our oceans are choking. However, plastic had a shortcoming: it was non-biodegradable. For the study, the researchers extrapolated the amount of plastic found in their core samples and from research from other organisations to conclude as much as 14.4m tonnes of microplastic was now on the ocean floor globally. They also encourage recycling and enforce regulations on its management. But she said the amount of plastic on the ocean floor was relatively small compared to all the plastics being released, suggesting the deep sea sediments were not currently a major resting place for plastics. “I think the ultimate fate [of marine plastics] is the deep sea, but we are far from being at equilibrium,” she said. At least 14m tonnes of plastic pieces less than 5mm wide are likely sitting at the bottom of the world’s oceans, according to an estimate based on new research. “If we could travel a thousand years into the future, that plastic will have slowly fragmented and been removed from our coastline.”. t in 1950 to ~322 Mio. It is estimated that 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, and half of this plastic is used just once and then disposed. The chart shows that by 2015, the world had produced 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic — more than one tonne of plastic for every person alive today. Microplastics are 5mm or less in diameter and are mostly the result of larger plastic items breaking apart into ever smaller pieces. Unfortunately, many of the developing countries which accept plastic imports, especially in the wake of China’s ban, do not have strict regulations on how to deal with this waste, and much of it … Dr Denise Hardesty, a principal research scientist at CSIRO and a co-author of the research published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, told the Guardian that finding microplastic in such a remote location and at such depths “points to the ubiquity of plastics, no matter where you are in the world”. Analysis of ocean sediments from as deep as 3km suggests there could be more than 30 times as much plastic at the bottom of the world’s ocean than there is floating at the surface. In 1907, Belgian-American chemist Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland created the first form of plastic based on a synthetic polymer. These are coated with plastic to laminate the inside and use plastic lids. Australia’s government science agency, CSIRO, gathered and analysed cores of the ocean floor taken at six remote sites about 300km off the country’s southern coast in the Great Australian Bight. While this may seem a large figure, Hardesty said it was small compared to the amount of plastics likely entering the ocean each year. Leaders from more than 70 countries signed a voluntary pledge in September to reverse biodiversity loss which included a goal to stop plastic entering the ocean by 2050. SBS News explains. There are 500 times more pieces of microplastic in the sea than there are stars in our galaxy and by 2050 it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made and put the number at 8.3 billion tonnes. 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