How much plastic is in the ocean?

There are now 5.25 trillion macropieces and micropieces of plastic in our ocean, 26 46 000 pieces in every square mile of ocean, weighing up to 269, 000 tons. Every day, around 8 million pieces of plastic reach our oceans. The amount of plastic waste that flows into the oceans each year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons. Plastic has accumulated in large quantities throughout the ocean, even in areas of deep water that were previously thought to have not been touched by humans.

The model analyzes costs and measures plastic leaks at sea when several scenarios related to the use of plastic are used. It is believed that much of the plastic that does not end up in landfills or goes through other waste management routes (such as recycling or incineration) ends up in the ocean. Last year, the giant consumer goods company pledged to halve the use of virgin plastics and to help collect and process more plastic containers than it sells. Meanwhile, following another path, global plastic production is on track to increase by 40 percent between now and 2030, and hundreds of billions of dollars are being invested in new plastic production plants, which maintains the status quo, according to the report.

The most recent counts contribute significantly to the knowledge base, but even those large numbers represent a fraction of the plastic that reaches the oceans each year. During this period, plastic production increased exponentially and continues to increase as global plastic production increases. Plastic can enter the ocean in the form of large, identifiable objects or as microplastics, pieces less than five millimeters in length. As plastic flows into the seas and more plastic is produced, it is also becoming increasingly clear that environmental campaigns are not progressing enough.

Plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of species of sea turtles, who mistake plastic for food. If that transformation takes place, and that's important, if Pew experts say that the annual flow of plastic waste into the oceans could be reduced by 80 percent over the next two decades, all using existing methods and technology. The journey of a piece of plastic can be very long: it gets stranded and re-enters the ocean several times, at the same time it slowly decomposes and releases microplastics.

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