A new analysis of global plastic pollution predicts that the amount of plastic pollution entering the oceans could triple by 2040.
The new analysis developed by SYSTEMIQ for The Pew Charitable Trusts, titled ‘Breaking the plastic wave: A comprehensive assessment if pathways towards stopping ocean plastic pollution’, found that with no action to prevent plastic pollution, the amount of plastic entering the marine environment could increase from 11 million metric tons per year to 29 million tons by 2040, reaching a total amount of 600 million tons.
Using a first-of-its-kind economic model that examines global flows of plastic and the quantity of plastic in the ocean between 2016 and 2040, the analysis finds that current commitments on plastic pollution will only reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean by seven per cent by 2040.
Compounding this issue is the prospect of four billion people lacking access to organised waste collection services by 2040, with 500,000 people per day needing to be connected to such services by 2040 to close the gap.
‘Breaking the plastic wave’ makes eight recommendations that could reduce the amount of plastic entering the oceans by 80 per cent by 2040, including reducing growth in plastic production and consumption, substituting plastic with paper and compostable materials, designing products for recycling, expanding recycling services in middle- and low-income countries, increasing recycling and reducing plastic waste exports.
Such changes could generate $70 billion in savings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent and create 700,000 jobs.
Such changes will still leave more than five million tons of plastic entering the oceans each year, with radical increases in innovation and investment and technological advances and new business models needed to stem the flow completely.
You can view the article in full on The Pew Charitable Trusts website.