Marine plastic pollution has major economic and social repercussions. Industries such as tourism, fishing and the real estate sector depend on marine environments and marine pollution can eradicate these economic opportunities. A large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from garbage, poorly managed landfills, tourism activities and fishing. The eleventh edition of the Yearbook of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) analyzes ten issues identified as emerging in previous reports of the last decade, including plastic waste in the ocean.
Fishing, aquaculture, recreational activities and global welfare are adversely affected by plastic pollution, with an estimated 1 to 5% decrease in the benefits that humans derive from the oceans. According to research, plastic pollution in the world's oceans costs society billions of dollars every year in damaged and lost resources. Valuing Plastic, a UNEP-backed report prepared by the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) and Trucost, presents the business case for managing and disseminating the use of plastic in the consumer goods industry. Some of this material sinks to the ocean floor, while others float and can travel long distances in ocean currents, polluting coastlines and accumulating in huge ocean gyres.