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42 Plastic Bag Ocean Pollution Statistics and Facts (2021)


It’s no secret that we’re killing the oceans with air pollution. Yearly, animals and crops are killed by trash and waste which might be tossed into the ocean by people. One of the crucial frequent kinds of plastic that leads to the ocean and has a noticeable detrimental impact is plastic luggage.

Plastic luggage are extremely harmful to ocean life due to their skinny materials, tendency to catch onto gadgets, and related resemblance to ocean animals, like jellyfish. Plastic luggage within the oceans are a totally preventable downside, and one which we ought to be actively working to enhance and forestall. Listed below are some vital details about ocean air pollution associated to plastic luggage.

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  • Over 100,000 marine animals die from plastic bag air pollution yearly, and over 1 million seabirds die from air pollution associated to plastic yearly.
  • Yearly, the worldwide utilization of plastic luggage is someplace between 500 billion to 1 trillion, or round 150-300 plastic luggage for each particular person on the planet.
  • Of those plastic luggage, roughly 10% discover their manner into the ocean. That’s between 50 billion and 100 billion luggage added to the ocean for yearly’s value of plastic luggage which might be manufactured.
  • The US is estimated to be accountable for over 300 billion plastic luggage coming into the ocean yearly.
  • Between 60-95% of the waste presently within the ocean is believed to be plastics.
sea turtle eating plastic
Picture Credit score: Willyam Bradberry, Shutterstock
  • People in the US are estimated to use around 365 plastic bags annually per person. That is in stark distinction to the estimated 4 plastic luggage per particular person within the nation of Denmark.
  • The common period of time a disposable plastic bag is used for is roughly quarter-hour.
  • If the plastic luggage used globally yearly had been related to one another finish to finish, they’d have the ability to circle the planet round 4200 occasions.
  • A number of the plastic waste discovered within the ocean finally ends up there resulting from runoff from irresponsible plastic manufacturing practices.
  • Nearly all child sea turtles have plastic of their stomachs resulting from by chance ingesting it, believing it to be meals.
  • 100% of deceased child sea turtles which were examined lately have been discovered to have plastic of their abdomen.
water pollution
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  • Round 34% of all Leatherback sea turtles found lifeless had been discovered to have plastic of some kind of their stomachs.
  • Roughly 50% of all sea turtles on the planet are believed to have consumed some type of plastic waste.
  • It’s estimated that round 60% of all seabirds have consumed plastic waste sooner or later of their life.
  • It’s extraordinarily frequent to search out plastic waste within the abdomen of deceased seabirds which might be examined.
  • Plastic waste within the ocean is harmful sufficient to kill Blue Whales, that are believed to be the biggest animals which have ever lived.
Dead turtle
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  • Simply within the North Pacific Ocean, fish yearly devour between 24 million and 48 million kilos of plastic waste.
  • In a single examine, over ¼ of the fish in markets within the state of California contained some type of plastic waste or microplastics of their gastrointestinal tracts. These fish are captured for human consumption.
  • The world produces 381 million tonnes, or 839,961,218,924 kilos, of plastic yearly. Of this, 50% is a type of single use plastic.
  • Solely 9% of the plastic produced has been recycled and 12% of those plastics are incinerated.
  • Lower than 14% of the plastic luggage used yearly are recycled.
  • Each minute, roughly 1 million plastic luggage find yourself within the trash.
ocean pollution
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  • Simply within the US, roughly 100 billion plastic luggage are used yearly, which signifies that round 12 million barrels of oil are used to fabricate these.
  • It’s believed that the variety of items of plastic within the ocean will outnumber fish by 2050.
  • Round 269,000 tonnes, or 593,043,485 kilos, of plastic waste presently floats on the floor of the ocean.
  • Of this floating waste, it’s estimated that 99% extra plastic waste lies beneath the ocean’s floor.
  • Simply due to plastic air pollution within the ocean, round 700 million marine species might go extinct.
water pollution
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  • Plastics are created from fossil fuels and the manufacturing course of releases harmful chemical compounds into the air which might be worsening the local weather disaster.
  • The kinds of plastics which might be normally used to make plastic luggage usually comprise sure chemical components that operate as endocrine disruptors, which might result in beginning defects, most cancers, and melancholy within the immune system in each animals and people.
  • A number of the chemical compounds leached from plastic luggage trigger impaired progress in some organisms. This consists of Prochlorococcus, a microorganism that’s accountable for producing round 10% of the oxygen on the planet.
  • Plastic luggage are extraordinarily immune to deterioration and might take wherever from 20-1000 years to decompose.
  • As plastic luggage degrade, they’re transformed into microplastics and don’t totally decompose.
  • Plastic on the whole is so immune to deterioration that the EPA has introduced that 100% of all plastic people have ever made nonetheless exists in some kind.
ocean pollution
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  • By 2020, 127 international locations had created some type of laws that particularly regulated the manufacturing and use of plastic luggage.
  • The nation of Kenya handed laws totally banning the manufacturing and use of single-use plastic luggage.
  • California was the primary state within the US to ban the manufacturing and use of plastic luggage. This ban started with laws handed in 2014.
  • In 2019, Oregon handed laws that’s the most complete plastic bag ban in america. This laws consists of banning using single-use plastic luggage and consists of charges to the patron in the event that they select to have companies present them with recycled paper luggage or reusable plastic luggage at checkout.
  • Greater than 25 states within the US have created some type of native or state-wide laws that limits using plastic luggage.
  • In 2020, the US handed the “Break Free From Plastic Air pollution” Act, which incorporates stipulations on the manufacturing and use of plastics, comparable to making producers accountable for recycling applications and having to make use of a “minimal recycled content material” degree within the manufacturing course of.
plastic floating in ocean
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  • In 2021, the European Union handed laws banning using any of the single-use plastic gadgets which might be the most typical plastic waste gadgets discovered on seashores, together with plastic luggage.
  • The nation of India has introduced their intention to totally ban using single-use plastics by 2022.
  • The final time a global treaty was handed that associated to plastics particles within the oceans was in 1988 and it positioned a ban on ships dumping plastics straight into the ocean.

How Can I Make Certain My Plastic Baggage Get Recycled?

person with plastic bag
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Many individuals aren’t conscious that the majority firms accountable for residential recycling gained’t settle for single-use plastic luggage. Which means each time these luggage are despatched to those recycling services, they’re in danger for ending up in the identical landfill they’d’ve gone to should you had merely tossed them into the trash. So how do you ensure that the single-use plastic luggage you employ find yourself really getting recycled?

The easiest way to ensure your plastic luggage get recycled is to take them on to locations with plastic bag recycling bins. These are generally present in locations like grocery shops and different kinds of retail shops. These firms are then capable of ship these luggage off for recycling to services which have the capability to correctly recycle single-use plastic luggage.

What are the Finest Choices to Change Single-Use Plastic Baggage?

Not one of the accessible choices are with out their cons, however you do have choices which might be both biodegradable or extra simply recycled than single-use plastic luggage. Essentially the most eco-friendly possibility appears to be recycled or partially recycled paper luggage. Sadly, there are fossil fuels related to the recycling course of and, resulting from their heavier weight than plastic luggage, transportation prices are greater after manufacturing.


reuseable shopping bag
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Reusable plastic luggage are one other potential possibility to interchange single-use plastics, however it’s a must to make sure you’re utilizing the reusable bag via its helpful life. Sadly, many individuals neglect to reuse these luggage or neglect to deliver them to the shop with them in any respect, resulting in extra waste. In case you select to make use of reusable plastic luggage constructed from partially recycled content material, be sure you use them till they’re now not usable.

Cotton- and fiber-based

Cotton-based reusable luggage are another choice that may be helpful, however there’s a considerable amount of water and power required within the rising and processing of cotton. Nonetheless, these luggage are reusable a whole bunch to 1000’s of occasions, and they’re washable, making certain they keep clear and secure to make use of. Non-woven polypropylene luggage are generally supplied as freebies with purchases via small companies or with any enterprise that’s making an attempt to extend advertising and marketing. These luggage are constructed from recycled plastics however do must be washed to make sure they’re secure.

Pure supplies, like jute and hemp, may be nice different supplies for reusable luggage which might be extra eco-friendly to develop and course of than cotton. This additionally avoids the creation and use of plastics that may by no means totally degrade.


paper bag
Picture Credit score: Matthias Böckel, Pixabay

Compostable luggage are top-of-the-line choices since they are going to quickly break down within the atmosphere, leaving no hint behind. Nonetheless, these luggage may be troublesome to retailer and do have a restricted shelf life as a result of supplies they’re made with. If saved in damp or humid environments, or environments which might be too heat, these luggage can break down with out ever getting used. These are a very nice possibility to interchange single-use plastic luggage you already use every day, although, like doggy poo luggage.

aquarium plant dividerIn Conclusion

Protecting plastic luggage out of the ocean is totally essential to the survival of many species and, when it comes right down to it, our survival as nicely. The ocean supplies meals, oxygen, and different vital sources for our livelihood and survival as a species. It’s our accountability to look after our planet, and this consists of holding single-use plastics out of the ocean.

Now we have already accomplished irreversible harm to the oceans with single-use plastic luggage. Vegetation and animals are dying, together with corals and endangered species, like Monk seals and Blue Whales. If we are able to reel in our plastic bag use now, and work to scrub up the harm that has already been accomplished, then we’ve got an opportunity to avoid wasting a number of species and make the world a more healthy place for everybody. Nonetheless, this takes time and dedication to creating laws, monitoring manufacturing and use, and utilizing our voices to power unethical firms to start implementing moral manufacturing practices, together with manufacturing secure merchandise and stopping manufacturing runoff.

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