The plastics revolution launched in the 1950s has led to the cumulative production of 8,300 million tonnes (MT) of plastic products and vast quantities of plastic waste (6,300 MT). According to a Pew Trust report (pg. 25), around 59% of the plastic waste generated in 2016 is “managed” (that is recycled, incinerated, or placed in reasonably well-managed landfills). The remaining plastic waste can be observed scattered across the globe. Some plastic (an estimated 3-5% annually) leaks into the world’s oceans, where it has become ubiquitous and is now a global environmental focal point. Plastic waste penetrates every marine habitat and is widely consumed by marine animals. Marine mammal and turtle entanglement in plastic debris, mainly discarded or lost fishing gear, has produced iconic images of the dangers of plastic pollution. Meanwhile, the effect of plastic waste on human health is still being debated, but it is clear that humans are consuming microplastics via seafood. Even more worrying, forecasts indicate that new plastic production (and the resulting waste) will double by 2040 if no action is taken.
Rowan, Andrew N.
"Plastics – Challenges for Life Below Water and Life on Land,"
WellBeing News: Vol. 4:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://www.wellbeingintlstudiesrepository.org/wbn/vol4/iss2/1