“The world is on track to triple the amount of plastic we dump into the ocean in just two decades. But if civic and business leaders get their [act] together to curb the global plastics crisis, we could reduce that rate by 80%, according to two new reports on Thursday.
The world produces hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year, and 40% of it ends up polluting the ocean or land. In 2016, 11 million metric tons of plastic got into the ocean, where it can kill sea creatures, screw up entire marine ecosystems, and affect human health.
That impact is only expected to grow: Global Plastic production is expected to double by 2040. The new studies—one published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ and one in the journal Science—shows we could see 1.3 billion metric tons of plastic pollute our water and land by 2040 if the world does nothing. Under that scenario, the amount of plastic entering the oceans each year would grow to 29 million metric tons per year by 2040. That’s equivalent to 35 pounds of plastic per foot of coastline worldwide.
“That’s one of the most alarming statistics we found,” Sarah Baulch, an associate at Pew Charitable Trusts, told Earther.”