By Siddhi Jain :
WITHOUT immediate and sustained action, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean could nearly triple by 2040, new analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ has found. The study also identified solutions that could cut this volume by more than 80 per cent using available resources, if key decision-makers are willing to make system-wide changes.
The findings from the scientific analysis are captured in a report, ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution’. The research found that if no action is taken to address the projected growth in plastic production and consumption, the amount of plastic entering the ocean each year would grow from 11 million metric tonnes to 29 million metric tonnes over the next 20 years, equivalent to nearly 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of plastic on each metre of coastline worldwide
Because plastic remains in the ocean for hundreds of years and may never truly biodegrade, the cumulative amount of plastic in the ocean by 2040 could reach 600 million tonnes -- equivalent in weight to more than 3 million blue whales.
And COVID-19 has presented additional challenges in the fight to end ocean-bound plastic pollution, as single-use plastic consumption has increased during the pandemic, according to the International Solid Waste Association. Although progress has been made in addressing the global plastic challenge, the report finds that current commitments by Government and industry will reduce the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean only by 7 per cent by 2040.