For the first time, scientists have quantified the amount of plastic waste being dumped into our oceans annually. It's about eight million ton — and researchers warn that the cumulative amount could increase more than 10-fold in the next decade unless the international community improves its waste management practices.
You may not think much of a plastic grocery bag flying past you on the beach, but over time, all those bags and bottles and packaging start to add up.
Jenna Jambeck from the University of Georgia in Athens, along with scientists from the U.S. and Australia, studied the populations living within 50 km of coastlines worldwide and developed models to estimate their annual contributions to plastic in the ocean.
These scientists identified three categories that can help provide information about plastics polluting the oceans: