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SCIENCE

We are dedicated to changing the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation through the use of science.

 

All of our programs are scientifically endorsed to inspire people to reduce their plastic footprint and encourage others to live sustainably without plastic.

Image by John Cameron

Our World Has A Plastic Pollution Crisis

Most of the world's oceans are swimming in plastic pollution and microplastics which is harming marine life and human health. At Plastic Oceans Australasia our aim is to change the world’s attitude to plastic pollution within a generation. By changing people’s attitude towards plastic, we can raise awareness on the harmful and negative effects that sea pollution has on marine life, the environment and our future.

Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans has become one of the biggest environmental issues of today. With the rapid increase in production of single-use plastic and disposable plastic products we are overwhelming the planet.

The initial convenience that single-use plastic products offer has led to a throw-away culture that exposes the impacts of plastic. Today, single-use plastics account for 40% of the plastic produced every year; this includes bags, food wrappers and product packaging. These products can have a lifespan of mere minutes, yet remain in the environment for hundreds of years.

Key Facts about Plastic pollution

  • The amount of plastic trash that flows into the oceans every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons (Nat Geo, 2020).

  • We are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every year (Plastic Oceans, 2021).

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century (Plastic Oceans, 2021).

  • 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually (UK Government, 2018).

  • Plastic production has been forecast to grow by 60% by 2030 and to treble by 2050 (Center for International Environmental Law, 2019).

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How Does Plastic End Up In Our Oceans?

Most of the plastic pollution found in our oceans has flowed in from land via litter being left on beaches, poorly managed landfill sites or plastic washed down city drains and carried out to sea by major rivers picking up more rubbish as they move downstream. Once the plastic reaches the ocean, it remains in coastal waters until it is caught up in ocean currents and transported around the world.

What Harm Does Plastic Pollution Do To Marine Life?

For marine wildlife such as fish, dolphins, seabirds and seals, plastic pollution in the ocean is deadly, with millions of animals killed every year from plastics.

Marine animals including seals, whales, turtles, and other animals are strangled by abandoned fishing gear or discarded six-pack rings. Nearly every species of seabird eats plastics, which have been found to block digestive tracts or pierce organs, causing death.

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Stopping The Tide Of Plastic Pollution In Our Oceans

In the ocean, it is extremely difficult to retrieve plastic waste. Mechanical systems can be effective at picking up larger pieces of plastic but once the plastic breaks down into smaller pieces, called microplastics, they can drift through the water and are virtually impossible to recover.

The biggest solution to reducing ocean pollution is to prevent plastic waste from entering rivers and seas in the first place. This can be accomplished with improved waste management systems and recycling. Even better, a reduction in the use of plastic will make the biggest difference in reducing the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Image by Sören Funk
Image by Hermes Rivera

How Does Plastic Pollution In The Ocean Affect Humans?

1 in 3 fish caught for human consumption are found to contain plastic; the question has shifted from how might ocean pollution affect us to how is it affecting us?

In ocean water, plastic absorbs chemicals like PCB and DDT which have been linked to endocrine disruption and even some cancers. And even if you don’t eat fish, every person needs air to breathe, and 70% of Earth's oxygen production is from marine plants, which are dying every day due to ocean pollution.

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Help Us To Target The Plastic Pollution Crisis

At Plastic Oceans Australasia, it is our aim to raise awareness of the harmful effects of plastic pollution in our oceans. By working within education, business and science, we aim to provide people with the knowledge and resources to reduce their reliance on plastic, and in turn, reduce their contribution to plastic pollution.  

Technical Advisory Panel
Research Articles