By 2040, the amount of plastic in the Earth's oceans could triple – study
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Experts say the amount of plastic entering the world's oceans has risen to “unprecedented” level since 2005. According to a peer-reviewed study by the US-based 5 Gyres Institute, about 171 trillion plastic particles were floating in the oceans by 2019.
Researchers predict that marine plastic pollution could rise 2.6 times by 2040 unless legally binding global policies are adopted worldwide.
The study looked at surface-level plastic pollution data from 11,777 ocean stations in six major maritime regions from 1979 to 2019 .
“We have detected an alarming trend of exponential growth of microplastics in the world's oceans since the turn of the millennium. We need a strong legally binding UN global treaty on plastic pollution that will stop the problem at the source,” — said Markus Eriksen, co-founder of 5 Gyres Group.
Microplastics are especially dangerous for the oceans, as they not only pollute the water, but also damage the internal organs of marine animals that mistake plastic for food.
Experts say the level of marine plastic pollution in the oceans has been underestimated.
“The numbers in this new study are staggering and almost incomprehensible,” — said Paul Harvey, a scientist and plastics expert at Environmental Science Solutions, an Australian pollution reduction consultancy.
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