Spilled plastic garbage on the beach

A recently published study found that the plastic level in the world’s oceans has reached “unprecedented levels,” and there is an estimated 170 trillion pieces of plastic floating at sea level. 

The study was published on Wednesday in the open-access journal called PLOS One. Researchers warned that the amount of plastics and microplastics could explode several-fold in the next few decades if there is no international movement to stop the trend.

These researchers said there has been a rapid increase in plastics since 2005 when there were 16 trillion pieces. 

The uptick has been blamed on the increase in production matched with the limited number of policies to prevent plastics from entering oceans. Scientists say the number can triple by 2040.

TRENDPOST: The Economist Impact and The Nippon Foundation said plastic use could increase to 451 million tons a year by 2050, which dwarfs the two million tons produced worldwide in 1950. 

The impact on sea life can be disastrous. Plastic kills fish and sea animals and the BBC noted that it takes hundreds of years to break down into less harmful materials. The report said the highest concentration of ocean plastic is currently in the Mediterranean Sea. The report also said there are some “large floating masses found elsewhere including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

The Trends Journal has noted that the public is constantly reminded about the risk of COVID-19, but there is hardly any mention of the risks to human health tied to pollution. (See “WILL COVID KILL YOU? 74 MILLION METRIC TONS OF MICROPLASTICS FOUND IN AUCKLAND’S ATMOSPHERE” 20 Dec 2022, and “AFRAID COVID WILL KILL YOU? MICROPLASTICS FOUND IN VEIN TISSUE” 7 Feb 2023.)

We reported in December, a newly published study found that there are about 74 metric tons of microplastics in Auckland, New Zealand’s atmosphere that could be inhaled by residents there and accumulate in their bodies.

“The exponential increase in microplastics across the world’s oceans is a stark warning that we must act now at a global scale, stop focusing on cleanup and recycling, and usher in an age of corporate responsibility for the entire life of the things they make,” Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of The 5 Gyres Institute, a U.S. group that campaigns to tackle plastic pollution, told CNBC.

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