How much plastic is in the ocean?
Author: Kori Williams
According to a study conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, Ltd., the amount of ocean plastic is estimated to reach three times that - to 600 metric tons by 2040 - if things don't change right now. It suggests that our plastic consumption habits need to change, and that we must become a "circular economy," which involves focusing on reusing and recycling these materials instead of making new ones. According to the World Wildlife Fund, plastic also finds its way down drains. Things like "flushable" wipes lead to blockages in sewage systems. Microfibers also get washed away when we do laundry, and microbeads from skincare products make their way down the drains as well. And what's more, large amounts of trash end up in the ocean because landfills are being unmonitored, and they end up overflowing into the water. The Guardian points out that around the world, there are coastal landfills that are have been experiencing floods and landslides for years. And thanks to rising sea levels because of the climate crisis, this problem is only projected to get worse. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017 for example, The Guardian states that 13 waste sites were flooded in Texas alone. Kate Spencer, professor of environmental geochemistry at Queen Mary University of London, told the publication that putting landfills on coastlines was done on purpose to dilute sewage. But now we see the many negative aspects of that plan.