Ocean plastic to treble within 10 years

Plastic estimated to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050

(Image credit: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

The amount of plastic littering the world’s oceans is expected to triple in less than a decade unless drastic measures are taken to deal with the problem, government scientists have warned.

The Foresight Future of the Sea report from the UK Government Office for Science says plastic is one of the biggest threats facing the world’s oceans, along with rising seas level, warming waters and metal and chemical pollution.

At least 70% of marine litter is non-degradable plastic and is projected to increase threefold between 2015 and 2025, according to the report.

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The UK economy relies heavily on oceans, with 95% of trade travelling by sea, and experts say the Government needs to be more strategic in its approach in order to successfully halt some of the long-term pollution issues.

The report’s authors suggest efforts to reduce plastic pollution should focus on preventing it entering the sea, introducing new biodegradable plastics and public awareness campaigns about marine protection.

CNN says the issue of plastic pollution has become “a notorious environmental subject over the last several years” as researchers and activists have revealed it accumulating in areas of the sea and along once pristine coastlines.

The World Economic Forum claims around 150 million tonnes of plastic is already floating in the world’s oceans and it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight by 2050 if current rates of plastic dumping hold.

A plastic garbage island floating in the middle of the Pacific is estimated to cover one million square miles, roughly the same size as Mexico.

But the international community is slowing waking up to the problem. Last year, 193 countries signed a UN resolution pledging to eliminate plastic pollution at sea.

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