the plastic crisis
Plastic pollution comes mainly from South-East Asia.
Over 80% of the 8 million tons of marine plastic waste come from land-based sources (drinks bottles, packaging, etc.), but also from shipping and the fishing industry.
60% of marine plastic waste has originated from South-East Asia: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand.
In a study published by Science Magazine, scientists conclude that “plastic debris in the marine environment is widely documented, but the quantity of plastic entering the ocean from waste generated on land is unknown.” And they calculated that “275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010”. In the Philippines, each year, around 2 million tons is uncaptured with 500,000 tons entering the ocean.
This situation has catastrophic consequences for the environment.
Marine microplastics have negative effects on marine ecosystems: increasing numbers of marine animals die each year through starvation due to eating plastic that stays in their stomach making them feel full.
"The full extent of the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems is still unknown and therefore the economic and social costs are difficult to fully assess", say scientists from UNEP and GRID-Arendal in Marine Litter Vital Graphics.
Scientists estimate that 90% of seabirds carry around 10% of their body weight in plastics - a similar proportion to airline hand luggage allowance for humans. This figure is expected to increase to 99% by 2050.