How much plastic is in our oceans?

(Al Jazeera 6/19/2023)

Every year, about 400 million tonnes of plastic products are produced around the world. About half are used to make single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and packaging material.

Of these plastics, an estimated 8 million to 10 million tonnes end up in the ocean each year. If flattened to the thickness of a plastic bag, that is enough to cover an area of 11,000sq km (4,250sq miles). That is about the size of small countries like Qatar, Jamaica or the Bahamas.

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Which countries are the source of the most plastic in the ocean?

According to a 2021 study published by Science Advances research, 80 percent of all plastics found in the ocean comes from Asia.

The Philippines is believed to be the source of more than a third (36.4 percent) of all plastic waste in the ocean followed by India (12.9 percent), Malaysia (7.5 percent), China (7.2 percent) and Indonesia (5.8 percent).

These amounts do not include waste that is exported overseas that may be at higher risk of entering the ocean.

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