Plastic is one of the world’s most chronic pollutants. A colossal floating mass of waste trapped in the north Pacific gyre between Hawaii and Japan is estimated to contain more than 100 million tonnes of a floating soup of plastic, some of it there since the 1950s. The contaminated area of ocean is larger than the continental United States.
Nor is this problem specific to the Pacific. The UN Environment Programme calculates that every square mile of the world’s oceans contains an average of 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. More than one million sea birds a year die from ingesting plastic. This toxic cocktail makes its journey full circle to humanity via contamination of the marine produce we in turn eat.
Almost too painful to think about.