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A growing plastic smog is choking the world’s oceans – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down

WorldAsiaA growing plastic smog is choking the world's oceans – and it's showing no signs of slowing down
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UN member states are set to meet this spring with the aim of developing a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Munir uz Zaman | AFP | Getty Images

More than 170 trillion plastic particles weighing nearly 2 million metric tons are floating in the world’s oceans, according to new research, and that number could nearly triple by 2040 if no action is taken.

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Author of peer-reviewed research paper, Published Wednesday. In the journal PLOS One, it warned that “the cleanup is pointless,” if plastic production continues at the current rate. They blame the plastics industry for refusing to make commitments on buying recycled materials or designing for recycling.

To tackle the plastics problem, the researchers call on lawmakers to implement urgent policy measures that focus on source reduction and reuse to reduce ecological, social and economic harm.

“The exponential increase in microplastics in the world’s oceans is a stark reminder that we must act now globally, stop the focus on cleanup and recycling, and usher in an era of corporate responsibility for the whole life of the things they make We should,” said Marcus Ericsson, co-founder of The 5Gears Institute, a US group campaigning to combat plastic pollution.

The researchers assessed trends in ocean plastics from 1979 to 2019 and found a dramatic increase in the mass and abundance of ocean plastics since 2005.

They say this may reflect a boom in plastic production, fragmentation of existing plastic pollution, or changes in terrestrial waste generation and management.

“Cleaning is futile if we continue to produce plastics at the current rate, and we have heard about recycling for far too long, while the plastics industry simultaneously rejects any commitment to buy recycled materials or design for recycling. does,” Ericsson said.

“It is time to address the plastic problem at the source,” he said.

Without immediate action to reverse the current trend, the rate of plastic entering the world’s oceans was expected to increase approximately 2.6 times from 2016 to 2040.

united nations convention

Research, who is a scientist and plastics researcher told Reuters was “wonderfully unprecedented and almost incomprehensible”, thus a Historic Global Plastic Pollution Treaty Which was adopted by the member countries of the United Nations last year.

member states of the United Nations scheduled To meet this spring aimed at developing a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

The authors of the research say it is critically important to establish a resolution that addresses the full cycle of plastics, from extraction and manufacture to end-of-life.

“The increasing accumulation of plastic particles in our atmosphere and bodies will eventually lead to the planet’s inability to sustain life,” Scott Coffin, research scientist at the California State Water Resources Control Board, said in a statement.

“Now is the time for governments around the world to unite in their efforts to reduce plastic production and prevent its escape into the environment,” Coffin said.

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