How much plastic will be in the ocean by 2030?

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says that by 2030, 58.4 million tons of plastic will be added to oceans around the world every year, the Associated Press reported. Currently, plastic represents 85 percent of all marine litter. Even products that say “biodegradable” on their labels or that pose as alternatives to plastic can be so harmful to humans, organisms and ecosystems, since they can take years to decompose when thrown away in the ocean. The researchers say that the models show that the strategies currently in place to reduce plastic waste, such as the prohibition of certain products and the continuous cleaning of garbage, “are not sufficient to control plastic pollution.” The growing global demand (and elimination) of plastics has caused profound changes in the natural world, as plastic has been progressively leaking out of the Anthroposphere2,3.To achieve significant change in plastic production and pollution, it is necessary to enact legislation that imposes financial responsibility for plastic waste on manufacturers.

This would include reducing plastic production by 25 to 40 percent in all economies, increasing the level of waste collection and management to at least 60 percent in all economies and recovering 40 percent of annual plastic emissions through cleaning initiatives. For more than a decade, scientists have warned that humanity is leaving so much plastic in the natural environment that future archaeologists will be able to mark this era with the synthetic waste that was left behind, in short, the Age of Plastic. Working together with local partners, the scientific community and policy makers, the alliance will apply an inclusive, science-based approach to ocean conservation, recognizing that areas must be well managed to help boost ocean biodiversity and fishing and improve the livelihoods of people and the economies that depend on them. Plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water continues to increase considerably and could more than double between now and 2030, according to an assessment released on Thursday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Such is the comprehensive infiltration of plastic into the environment, in a whole spectrum of shapes and sizes, plastic pollution is now irreversible and on a planetary scale in nature. Ellen MacArthur Foundation%26 McKinsey %26 Company Rethinking the Future of Plastics (World Economic Forum, The New Economics of Plastics, 201.However, one place where this could happen soon is in the Southern Ocean, around Antarctica, where the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is considering proposals which, together, could provide the amount of global ocean protection up to almost 9 per cent. Studies have shown that more than 50% of the plastic found in certain ocean gyres was produced before the year 2000. The UN is supporting a community-led project to manage some 28,000 tons of plastic waste and prevent 5,000 tons from ending up in the ocean at one of Vietnam's most popular tourist attractions.

While policies to reduce plastic bags are effective in reducing the most abundant plastics, this source of plastic increases by 2030 as the population grows.

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