An unprecedented rise in plastic pollution has been uncovered by scientists, who have calculated that more than 170tn plastic particles are afloat in the oceans.
They have called for a reduction in the production of plastics, warning that “cleanup is futile” if they continue to be pumped into the environment at the current rate. The research, by the 5 Gyres Institute and published in the journal Plos Oneevaluates trends of ocean plastic from 1979 to 2019. The authors noted a rapid increase of marine plastic pollution and blamed the plastics industry for failing to recycle or design for recyclability. Dr Marcus Eriksen, the co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, said: “The exponential increase in microplastics across the world’s oceans is a stark warning that we must act now at a global scale, stop focusing on cleanup and recycling, and usher in an age of corporate responsibility for the entire life of the things they make. “Cleanup is futile if we continue to produce plastic at the current rate, and we have heard about recycling for too long while the plastic industry simultaneously rejects any commitments to buy recycled material or design for recyclability. It’s time to address the plastic problem at the source.”

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