171 trillion pieces of plastic are polluting the oceans as the numbers rise

Litter on the beach in Hawaii

A handful of microplastics washing ashore on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii is part of the plastic crisis (Image: SWNS)

Plastic pollution is rising rapidly – and there are more than 171 trillion particles floating in our oceans and rising, according to a study.

About 2.3 million tons of plastic waste are clogging the seas and it will only get worse unless global agreements to limit pollution are made soon, experts warn.

If the problem is not addressed, current pollution will increase 2.6 times by 2040, data shows.

The prediction comes after the 40-year study monitored plastic waste levels in the north and south Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Researcher Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of The 5 Gyres Institute, said: “We have observed an alarming trend of exponential growth of microplastics in global oceans since the millennium.

“This is a stark warning that we must act now on a global scale. We need a strong, legally binding global UN treaty that stops the problem at the source.’

Driven by the demand for single-use packaging, global plastic production has been increasing since the 1950s, reaching 390.7 million tonnes in 2021.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/09/171trillion-pieces-of-plastic-polluting-the-seas-as-numbers-soar-18409571/ 171 trillion pieces of plastic are polluting the oceans as the numbers rise

Justin Scacco

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