One garbage truck’s worth of plastic is being dumped into the sea every minute. If no action is taken, the pace of this plastic pollution is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.
This and other sad statistics can be found in an Ellen MacArthur Foundation report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
According to Ellen MacArthur, plastics production has increased twenty-fold since 1964.
Despite the growing demand, MacArthur stated in Davos that just 5% of plastics are recycled effectively, while 40% end up in landfill and a third in ecosystems such as the world’s oceans. Her study reports that plastic production reached 311 metric tons in 2014, and is expected to double in 20 years and then almost quadruple by 2050.
If we stay on this path, MacArthur’s research states that, “the ocean is expected to contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics by weight than fish.”
Below are two graphics from the study highlighting how significant this problem is and might become.
Some of you probably think the image at the top of this post is not a first world problem and something that we don’t have to worry about here in the U.S. If so, unfortunately, you are wrong.
Below are a few pictures that I took this January in Palm Beach in front of one of the most exclusive estates in the area.
Ocean trash and plastics is a global problem and solving it will not be easy. Demand for plastics will continue to grow, especially from emerging markets. Potential solutions such as bioplastics are expensive to make and recycling systems are inefficient.
As MacArthur, who experienced the problem of ocean plastics first-hand during her record breaking solo sailing circumnavigation of the globe in 2005, says, “industry, governments and citizens need to work together.”
My family and I write about these issues on our Clean Up Oceans blog and, as my kids remind me often, taking just a little time out can make a difference.
Help spread the word and help keep our oceans clean!
Preston McSwain is a Managing Partner and Founder of Fiduciary Wealth Partners, an SEC registered investment advisor committed to forming fiduciary wealth partnerships with clients, professional colleagues, and the community. To see more of his posts, and follow him on social media, please visit the following