Ocean plastic pollution to treble in ten years

21st March 2018


Web oceanplastic istock 636413320

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Waste ,
  • Marine ,
  • Wildlife & Habitats ,
  • Global ,
  • UK government

Author

Andrew

There is expected to be three times more plastic littering the ocean in 2025 than there was in 2015 if current trends continue, UK scientists have warned today.

A report from the Government Office for Science highlights the dangers of the world’s oceans being “out of sight, out of mind”, with the seabed less mapped than the surface of Mars.

As a result, the full effects of plastic pollution are unknown, however, growing evidence suggests it is harming sea creatures by clogging digestive tracks, as well as polluting beaches.

The report says raising public awareness will likely be needed to tackle the issue, along with preventing the amount of litter entering the sea, and introducing biodegradable materials.

“Our decades-long addiction to plastic packaging has been a complete disaster for our oceans,” Plastic Planet co-founder, Sian Sutherland, said. “We have to go plastic-free urgently.

“Future generations can ill-afford for our plastic detritus to languish in the oceans for centuries, which means embracing the raft of plastic-free packaging solutions already on the market.”

Along with plastic pollution, the report highlights a number of other long-term challenges facing the ocean as a result of human activities, including a loss in marine biodiversity, chemical pollution, and rising sea levels.

It also states that ocean warming of 1.2-3.2˚C is projected by 2100 depending on greenhouse gas emissions, which is likely to result in a decline in cold-water fish, coral bleaching, and new species in UK waters.

However, the report highlights how the global ‘ocean economy’ is set to double in size to £2trn by 2030, and that the UK could take advantage of this through areas such as offshore wind.

It predicts a growing reliance on the sea for resources and busier seas, and that autonomy and robotics will improve understanding of the marine environment, facilitating new and more efficient economic activity.

“Both the opportunities and the challenges set out in this important report are global in scale and demand our urgent attention,” Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, said.

“We must keep pushing our scientific understanding of the oceans, harness new technologies, and support commercial innovation. Most of all, we must ensure that governments keep pace with this changing environment.

“International collaboration remains crucial in order to realise the fullest benefits of our marine industries and scientists, for the UK and the world.”

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Fake news

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

Rivers and waterways across England and Wales are increasingly polluted by sewage spills. What is causing the crisis and what is being done to tackle it? Huw Morris reports

31st May 2024

Read more

In January, the Welsh government consulted on a proposed white paper, 'Securing a Sustainable Future: Environmental Principles, Governance and Biodiversity Targets for a Greener Wales'.

31st May 2024

Read more

Gillian Gibson calls for urgent action to avoid environmental tipping points

20th May 2024

Read more

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close