New Delhi, March 10
In a rapidly rising plastic pollution, a study revealed that more than 170 trillion plastic particles, weighing approximately 2 million tonnes, were floating on the surface of the world’s oceans.
In a peer-reviewed paper published on Wednesday in the journal “PLOS One” — by Marcus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, a California-based nonprofit organisation — found a rapid increase in the mass and abundance of ocean plastic after 2005.
The rate of plastic entering the world’s oceans could triple by 2040 if necessary steps to stop plastic pollution were not taken, revealed the study.
Researchers evaluated trends of ocean plastic from 1979 to 2019 and observed a rapid increase in marine plastic pollution. The researchers made an urgent call for policy measures focused on source reduction and reuse rather than recycling and cleanup.
“The exponential increase in microplastics across the world’s oceans is a stark warning that ‘we must act now’ at a global scale, stop focusing on cleanup and recycling, and usher in an age of corporate responsibility for the entire life of the things they make,” said Dr Marcus Eriksen, Co-Founder of The 5 Gyres Institute. He further said, “Cleanup is futile if we continue to produce plastic at the current rate, and we have heard about recycling for too long while the plastic industry simultaneously rejects any commitments to buy recycled material or design for recyclability. It's time to address the plastic problem at the source.”
In the study, researchers said that existing international plastic policies were fragmented, lacked specificity, and did not include measurable targets. “Creating, binding and enforceable international agreements focused on source reduction is the best long-term solution. As treaty negotiations are underway, it’s crucial to establish a legally binding global treaty that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, from extraction and manufacturing to its end of life,” said 5 Gyres Institute in an official statement.
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