Top level statistics and info
- Every year, an estimated 8,000,000 tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans.
- That is one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
- As much as one fourth of ocean plastic may originate from rivers, and 10 rivers in Asia and Africa are responsible for 93% of all river-borne plastic.
- By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, by weight.
- It can take certain plastics 1000 years to decompose. For plastic bottles, the number is estimated at around 450 years.
- Less than 10% of all plastic is ever recycled.
The scale and scope of the plastic problem
More than 350 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year – half of which is intended for single use, and less than 10% of which is ever recycled. From this astronomic total, only about 2.3% ends up in the oceans, yet this still means that 8 million tonnes of waste are added every year; the equivalent of a garbage truck dumped every minute. The number is also growing rapidly, and it is estimated that plastic may outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050.
The easiest way to tackle ocean plastic
Our best chance against ocean plastic is to tackle it at source: as much as one quarter of all ocean plastic — 2 million tonnes a year — originates from just 10 rivers. Eight of these are in Southeast Asia, the last two in Africa. In this lies a huge opportunity. Not only do these 10 rivers make it possible to organise cost-effective plastic cleanup operations, but with the right business model, this cleanup can simultaneously provide high wages to hard-working, disadvantaged locals. The very same locals who have been shortchanged by globalisation, with no realistic capacity to caretake the environment given their current socio-economic conditions.
- Verdn blog on ocean plastic activism: https://verdn.substack.com/p/the-straw-ban-fallacy
- Verdn blog on tackling ocean plastic: https://verdn.substack.com/p/solving-ocean-plastic