Historically, the oceans were considered limitless and thought to harbour enough fish to feed an ever-increasing human population. 3 billion people in the World rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein. 10 % of the World‘s population, the very poor often rely on fishing as a primary source of income.
We are creating a plastic planet.
8.8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. The maximum amount could be closer to 14 million tons – about the weight of 2 million elephants. Most plastics take hundreds of years to break down. And even then, they just splinter into very small pieces called microplastics, which will likely never biodegrade.
Microplastics extends much further and more extensively into the waters, sediments, and animal communities of the deep sea. The concentration of microplastics is between 12 and 15 particles per cubic meter. Microplastics are not just a problem for marine life. They make their way into the food you eat and beverages you drink.
Marine animals accumulate potentially hazardous chemicals from eating those plastics. That leads them to suffer from tumours and liver problems. Those chemicals then move up the food chain. Humans are known to consume the tiny plastic particles via food and water.
The volume of microplastics in the environment is likely going to increase. Tiny pieces of plastic pollution were found raining down from the sky. A daily rate of 365 microplastic particles per square meter are falling from the sky. Microplastic is a new atmospheric pollutant.