The Online Library of Knowledge

Q-news

Five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean

Marine debris from below in HawaiiMarine debris from below in HawaiiA study has found that there are approximately 269 million tonnes of plastic polluting the ocean. Most pieces are smaller than 5 mm and come from clothing or food and drinks packaging. Just 5% of the world's plastic is currently recycled and, with throwaway plastic products on the increase, the amount of plastic ending up in the ocean is predicted to rise steeply, too.


Stomach contents of a dead albatross chickStomach contents of a dead albatross chickPlastic items ranging in size from bags or fishing lines to small bottles or tiny fragments may be eaten by seals, turtles and fish—and can kill them. Believing the colourful plastic objects to be food, albatross parents feed them to their chicks. Their stomachs get filled with indigestible plastic so they cannot eat real food and starve. Even the tiniest scraps pf plastic are eaten by small fish, which are then eaten by the bigger fish that are caught as food for people to consume.