Plastic pollution has grown in the world’s waters since 2005. According to recent research, if Marine plastic pollution continues at the current pace, it might triple (exactly 2.6 times) by 2040. In 2016, 9-14 million tonnes of plastics were found in the river, with this figure expected to rise to 23-37 million tonnes by 2040. From 1979 to 2019, surface-level plastic pollution data from 1,777 ocean sites in six main marine areas were collected for this study. This study demonstrates the inadequacy of the global push to reduce plastic pollution and suggests that efforts should be made to reduce most of the flow into the seas.
In 2019, Nature published a paper stating that waste mismanagement in African and Asian watersheds can discharge millions of tonnes of litter and plastic trash into terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide, eventually ending up in the seas.
Fate for all MSW plastic, 2016 to 2040, under the System Change scenario (SCS), indicating the annual mass of plastic (million metric tons/year) for each of five end-of-life fates.
Millions of people’s livelihoods, capacity for food production, and social well-being can all be negatively impacted by plastic pollution, which can modify habitats and natural processes and reduce ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change. Due to the world’s inability to keep up with the world’s exponentially rising output of throwaway plastic goods, plastic pollution has emerged as one of the most urgent environmental challenges.
Fish, seabirds, and marine animals are injured or killed in the water by plastic trash. At least 267 species have been affected by marine plastic pollution globally, including 86% of the sea turtle, 44% of the seabird, and 43% of marine mammal species.
What Can Be Done?
The 3Rs — Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — are rules that we, as consumers, must follow. Firstly, we must reflect on the decisions we make as consumers and determine if we genuinely need plastic or whether there are alternative solutions available. Second, making as many uses of the already-purchased item as possible, and third, recycling the plastic if all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Effective global governance is urgently required to support the legislation to reduce plastic pollution and waste. Also, if plastic is already reaching the ocean, we may frequently participate in beach and ocean clean-up campaigns to remove debris from the oceans. These efforts will help preserve oceans from plastic pollution.