Speed Reads

environmental matters

The world's oceans will soon contain more plastic than fish

There might be plenty of fish in the sea, but soon there will be even more plastic. The World Economic Forum revealed Tuesday that if plastic consumption and production continues at current rates, the world's oceans will contain more plastic than fish in terms of weight by 2050.

The World Economic Forum predicts plastic production will increase threefold to 1,124 million tons over the next 34 years. Plastic's use, which has grown 20-fold in the last 50 years, is expected to double yet again in the next 20 years.

The big problem with this boom, the World Economic Forum says, is the shockingly low percentage of plastic that gets recycled. Plastic packaging gets recycled only 14 percent of the time, translating to annual economic losses from tossed plastic packaging between $80 billion to $120 billion.

The economy isn't all that's suffering, either: Almost a third of plastic that goes unrecycled ultimately escapes landfills.