A Global Problem
Ocean Plastic is the most severe environmental problem we face with over 12.7 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans today and a prediction of there being more plastic than fish by 2050, we have a serious problem directly effecting our eco system and its health.
Despite the growing demand, just 5% of plastics are recycled effectively, while 40% end up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems such as the world’s oceans. Much of the remainder is burned, generating energy but causing more fossil fuels to be consumed in the production of new plastic consumer devices demanded by the economy.
In 2015, Associate Professor of Engineering, University of Georgia, Jenna Jambeck estimated that a staggering 5.3 million to 14 million tons of waste ends up in the ocean each year – just from coastal regions. At this time there were 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons floated on the surface, while 4 billion plastic micro-fibers (per square kilometer) littered the deep sea.
Upon consideration that less than a fifth of all plastic is recycled globally these astounding figures should come as no surprise. Even more worrying is the fact that superpowers tend to recycle less than this: in the US, plastic recycling is less than 10%.
Plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are proven to have been affected by it. Plastics only degrade and fragment, resulting in ever smaller particles which form micro-plastics. Whilst larger waste can lead to entanglement, marine animals such as turtles, whales and filter feeders ingest smaller fragments which can cause death by starvation or internal blockage.
Microplastics have been found across vast planes of the ocean, from sediments on the deepest seafloor to ice floating in the Arctic—which, as it melts over the next decade, could release more than a trillion bits of plastic into the water, according to one estimate from the National Geographic.
Through your investment in Ocean Polymers, you can help solve this global problem
Most of the plastic waste comes from just 5 countries with 90% coming from just three rivers. Ocean Polymers plan to target locations that charity funded projects currently cannot, or will not be able to, address.
The mass of plastics waste from land to sea will continue to flow regardless of recent public awareness as preventative measures will take time to come into force according to a study in 2015. Furthermore, we will not reach peak waste before 2100 at current trends. At this rate the mass of plastics in the ocean will overtake the mass of fish by 2050.
The image above shows plastic inputs from rivers. Ocean Polymers will target river run-offs during rainy season as this allows high density areas of plastic to be captured as they enter the oceans. As you can see Indonesia and China are some of the worst offenders and the fact that China has now closed its doors to plastic waste means that a cure-all for plastics pollution is more vital than ever.