The world’s oceans are becoming increasingly polluted by trash that we are putting in them, a new report now confirms. It is now being estimated by some of the top oceanic observers in the world that enough plastic trash is making its way into our oceans to cover every inch of the world’s coastlines with five plastic bags full of garbage per square foot. If that figure isn’t powerful enough, consider the fact that now the oceans are being pumped full of 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage each year. However, the same group that came to this conclusion, also concluded that due to the rising water levels – that the total amount of plastic pollution in our oceans would likely creep closer to 9 million tons instead this year.
While China is currently responsible for the most plastic pollution in our world’s oceans – racking up roughly 2.4 million tons of pollution – the United States ranked 20th. However, the United States was also the only country that was categorized as a rich industrialized country – to make the top 20 – raising questions about how much we’re actually doing to combat ocean pollution. The things that are floating around, are not specific types of garbage – either. In fact, they tend to be almost anything a person could imagine. Whether they’re defunct toys, food wrappers, old fishing gear, equipment from boats, and even toilet seats – ironically enough – it all winds up in our oceans – with little resistance coming from those who should be stopping this trend.
This though really raises some valid questions about how much we use, in terms of plastic items, but more importantly – how much we waste. While plastic has become one of the most-common materials that we have ever had in our industrialized world – there is undoubtedly a problem with the amount of plastic that we produce – and then throw away, waste, or simply discard – which then finds its way into nature. Our oceans, due to their massive size, are obviously nature’s version of a fishing net – collecting the waste that we have become too lazy to actually deal with.
Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia environmental engineering said “I think this is a wake-up call for how much waste we produce.” She went on to note that “In high-income countries, we also have a responsibility to reduce the amount of waste, especially plastic waste that we produce.” Either way, this is proof that something definitely needs to be done – in order to understand that this is the time to act, and these numbers aren’t just staggering, but numbers that can completely paralyze ocean populations.