More Plastic Than Fish In The Sea By 2050Reading time: 2 minutes
A recent report by the World Economic Forum estimates that the ocean will hold more plastic than fish (by weight) by the year 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.
Every year at least 8 million tonnes of plastic find it’s way into our oceans. This is the equivalent to one rubbish truck filled to the brim with plastic dumped into the oceans every minute. Current research estimates that there is over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean today.
The future is not looking too promising either. The global production of plastic is expected to double within the next 20 years and almost quadruple by the year 2050. This is particularly worrying considering we have already seen the global production of plastic increase by 20 times since 1964. This expansion in global industry is expected to greatly influence the proportion of plastic deposited in the ocean; plastic deposition into the ocean is expected to increase at a rate of 4.8% each year until 2025 and at a rate of 3% from 2025 to 2050.
The claim for more plastic than fish by weight by 2050 works on the perhaps opportunistic assumption that the current total mass of all the fish in the sea is around 1,000 million tonnes and that this number won’t significantly fluctuate in the next three to four decades. If this holds true the oceans are expected to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025. If the trend continues the ratio of plastic to fish in 2050 will be roughly one to one with a slight edge in favour of plastic.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Click here to find out what the 21-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slatis is doing to try and rid the oceans of plastic pollution.
Click here to see the full January 2016 report (PDF) from the World Economic Forum titled “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics.”
Featured image credit: Wikimedia commons (VBerger)