Everyone uses plastics on a daily basis. From the straws we use to drink soda to the utensils we use to eat in fast foods – everything is made of plastic.
Have you ever wondered where all this plastic waste goes after we use them? Sadly, most plastic ends up in the oceans. Currently there are at least 15 to 51 trillion tonnes of plastic in the five major oceans in the world. Every year the number increases by at least 20 to 30 percent causing the plastic accumulation in the ocean to become more and more unmanageable. These pieces of plastics come from the different sources, such as huge fast food chains, factories, malls, and people who do not dispose of their trash properly.
If this cycle continues, the ocean will be irreparably polluted by plastic waste by 2050. So just how do plastics end up in the ocean? And who are the major contributors of plastic waste in the world?
Here are some facts that you need to know about how plastics are polluting the ocean and killing various marine lives every year.
- At least 80 percent of plastics that do not decompose in landfill repositories and up in the ocean. These plastics usually consist of disposable customer goods, plastic toys, and plastic bags.
- Countries bordering the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean produce at least 2.5 billion pieces of plastic waste each year. Unfortunately, not all of this plastic waste is managed properly, causing at least 8 million tonnes of plastic to enter the ocean every year.
- Five countries in Asia – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – contribute as much as 60 percent of the world’s plastic waste. Due to inadequate plastic waste management, the majority of this plastic waste enters the ocean through streams and rivers during heavy floods.
- The urban expansion in Africa has caused the country’s plastic usage to rise. If this continues, Africa could be contributing double the waste of other countries in the coming years.
- The lack of international laws on plastic waste management has allowed huge businesses to be lax about their plastic waste management strategies.
The accumulation of plastic wastes in the ocean is not just harmful to the marine resources but to the people as well. To help lessen the plastic accumulation in the ocean we also need to take personal responsibility by limiting our use of plastic.