Humans have disposed of so much plastic in the ocean that they are now eating plastic particles in seafood.
A recent study revealed that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050, but an even more disturbing study has found that the amount of plastic disposed of by humans and put in the ocean is so massive that the plastic is currently being eaten by humans.
It’s no secret that the buildup of plastic in our oceans is increasing daily, but the impact it is having on our ecosystem and on humans remains unknown or ignored by humans regularly. The size of the situation is often difficult to face when life with disposable plastic is easy and replacing plastics with more sustainable options is seen as burdensome and expensive. However, the convenience of throwing away plastics and other damaging materials is an illusion that humans, animals, and the earth are already feeling the effects of. Sir David Attenborough from Plastic Oceans explains that, “There is no ‘away’ because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible. When you cast it into the ocean … it does not go away.”
Plastic Oceans, an organization that strives to “change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation,” has studied the cause and effect of plastic disposal in the ocean and determined just how much plastic humans produce: about 300 million tons every year.
To make the amount of plastic that humans are wasting more sizable, the BBC recently reported that 8 million tons of plastic finds its way to the oceans each year. This is enough to cover “an area 34 times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island to ankle depth.” Dr. Jenna Jambeck, the study lead author from the University of Georgia that spoke with BBC, broke it down even further and said, “The quantity entering the ocean is equal to about five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.” This number may even be low because plastics often break down into smaller, indestructible, and undetectable pieces that don’t get counted in the study.
The World Economic Forum is the organization that estimated that there would be more plastic than fish by 2050, partly because about 32% of plastic packaging escapes collections systems. Truthout reported that recent estimates indicate that:
“upwards of 8 million tons of plastic are added to the planet’s oceans every year, the equivalent of a dumptruck full of plastic every minute. That is enough plastic to have led one scientist to estimate that people who consume average amounts of seafood are ingesting approximately 11,000 particles of plastic every year.”
This is highly disturbing and quite literally food for thought for everyone who relies heavily on plastic. Remember that all of our human waste has a destination and that we won’t always be able to avoid this “environmental catastrophe of our own making.”
Do you think that adopting more sustainable practices and materials is worth preventing further waste? Is changing your lifestyle to avoid plastics too inconvenient? Comment your thoughts below and share this article!