In an article published on February 12, 2015 in The New York Times, journalist John Schwartz reports on a new study on plastic waste in the world’s oceans. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, linked worldwide data on solid waste, population density, and economic status, to estimate the mass of land-based plastic waste entering the ocean. Jambeck and colleagues calculated that around eight million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans every year. The results also show that the amount of plastic waste is likely to increase tenfold by 2025 without waste management infrastructure improvements. The researchers also highlight the world’s 20 worst plastic polluters. China, the biggest polluter, was found to be responsible for almost 30% of global plastic pollution. Schwartz notes that fish and other marine organisms consume the plastic particles. Whether consumption of plastic particles by marine organisms translates into potentially harmful exposures for people consuming seafood is currently being debated and further research is needed (FPF reported).
John Schwartz (February 12, 2015). “Study finds rising levels of plastics in oceans.” The New York Times
Jambeck, J.R. et al. (2015). “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.” Science 347, 768-771.