Plastic entering oceans could nearly triple by 2040

Reduce avoidable plastic use, scale up plastic waste collection

Published : 10 Mar 2023 08:30 PM

Plastics entering the world's oceans have surged by an "unprecedented" amount since 2005 and could nearly triple by 2040 if no further action is taken, according to research published on Wednesday. An estimated 171 trillion plastic particles were afloat in the oceans by 2019, according to peer-reviewed research led by the 5 Gyres Institute, a US organisation that campaigns to reduce plastic pollution. Marine plastic pollution could rise 2.6 fold by 2040 if legally binding global policies are not introduced, it predicted.

Plastic is polluting every corner of the planet. From ocean depths to mountain peaks, we have littered the planet with tiny shards of plastic. The scale of plastic pollution has become alarming with millions of tonnes of plastic waste existing almost everywhere posing serious threats to human and animal health and destroying nature as well.  Plastic wastes not only pollute our terrestrial biodiversity but according to UN, some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans polluting and destroying marine biodiversity. Microplastics are particularly hazardous to the oceans, not only contaminating water but also damaging the internal organs of marine animals. 

Microplastics are particularly 

hazardous to the oceans, not only 

contaminating water but also damaging 

the internal organs of marine animals

It is disconcerting to note that around 17,000 tonnes of plastic is produced in Bangladesh every day and only half of it is recycled, according to the Department of Environment. 

Reportedly, in Dhaka city alone, plastic waste has gone up more than 3.5 times from 178 tons per day in 2005 to 646 tons per day in 2020.

Recycling of plastic waste has become more than a necessity. We need to conduct awareness campaigns to convince consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and encourage them to move towards healthier and more sustainable ways of living that will benefit their families and their communities. It is time to determine concrete targets and devise roadmaps for reducing avoidable plastic use. Necessary steps should be taken to scale up plastic waste collection and reinforce recycling capacity through investment.

In order to reduce plastic pollution, we all have an essential role to play, from making small lifestyle changes -- such as shopping with reusable bags -- to raising our voices for more progressive and sustainable policies.  Our voices can become an impetus behind public policy decisions