How much plastic is in the ocean by 2050?

Industry experts expect that by 2050 we will produce three times more plastic than today; in terms of volume, the WEF forecasts that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans. While plastic has revolutionized our way of life since it was invented in the 1950s, the problem is that most of the plastic that has been manufactured still exists. The amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to double in the next 15 years, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight). Some have predicted that 2050 will be a bleak year for the ocean.

Experts say that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, or perhaps there will only be plastic left. Others say that 90% of our coral reefs could be dead, that waves of mass marine extinction could be unleashed and that our seas could be overheated, acidified and without oxygen. This includes the two-thirds of the offshore ocean that lie beyond the ocean borders of all the nations and marine regions surrounding Antarctica. Thanks to pledges of nearly $4.5 million from IAEA member States, NUTEC Plastics is mobilizing to support the 78 countries that request IAEA support to solve their plastic pollution problems.

Plastic soup will jeopardize the food supply of millions of people; meanwhile, plastic production is growing due to the low cost of shale gas. Professor Douglas McCauley from the University of California, Santa Barbara; member of the Friends of Ocean Action; director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative. However, the conclusion of that article about the amount of plastic that could already be in the ocean was one to three orders of magnitude greater than that reported previously. The event highlighted the impact of the IAEA initiative on nuclear technology to control plastic pollution: NUTEC Plastics.

These calculations are based, in part, on a widely used estimate, but practically impossible to prove, according to which 80 percent of plastic waste in the ocean comes from land, and not from marine sources, such as fishing boats, cargo ships or oil platforms.

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