Plastic Pollution


  1. This is assuming a mass of 75 kg per person [(381,000,000*1,000kg)/75kg per person=5,080,000,000 people]

  2. The data used in this figure is based on the Science study: Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

  3. This is assuming a mass of 75 kg per person [(381,000,000*1,000kg)/75kg per person=5,080,000,000 people]

  4. Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances3(7), e1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.

  5. Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances3(7), e1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.

  6. Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances3(7), e1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.

  7. Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances3(7), e1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.

  8. Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

  9. Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

  10. As we see in the chart, North America was responsible for 0.9 percent of global mismanaged plastic, and Europe & Central Asia for 3.6 percent. If plastic production (and hence potential ocean inputs) from these regions were eliminated, global mismanaged plastic would decline by only 4.5 percent.

  11. These projections assume growth in plastic generation rates and population, but that the proportion of plastic waste generation which is adequately managed remains constant.

  12. In the period from 2010 to 2025, it’s therefore expected that there will be a slight shift in relative contribution from the Americas, Europe and North Africa towards Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. East Asia, in relative terms, will remain approximately constant.

  13. Li, W. C., Tse, H. F., & Fok, L. (2016). Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects. Science of the Total Environment566, 333-349. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716310154.

  14. UNEP & FAO (2009). Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 523; UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 185. Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/i0620e/i0620e00.htm.

  15. Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports8(1), 4666. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w.

  16. Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports8(1), 4666. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w.

  17. Lebreton, L. C., Van der Zwet, J., Damsteeg, J. W., Slat, B., Andrady, A., & Reisser, J. (2017). River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans. Nature Communications, 8, 15611. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15611.

  18. Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L. C., Carson, H. S., Thiel, M., Moore, C. J., Borerro, J. C., … & Reisser, J. (2014). Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PloS one, 9(12), e111913. Available at:  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913.

  19. Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L. C., Carson, H. S., Thiel, M., Moore, C. J., Borerro, J. C., … & Reisser, J. (2014). Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PloS one, 9(12), e111913. Available at:  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913.

  20. Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports8(1), 4666. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w.

  21. The reported land area of Spain is approximately 500,000 square kilometres, and Alaska is an estimated 1.5 million square kilometres.

  22. Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771.

  23. The estimates for this figure range from around 4 to 12 million tonnes, with 8 million as a midpoint. In the context of this discussion, the uncertainty in this value is less important: the difference between ocean plastic inputs and observed plastic in surface ocean waters are orders of magnitude – rather than multiples – apart.

  24. Eriksen, M. et al. Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. Plos One 9, e111913 (2014).

  25. Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4666. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w.

  26. Cressey, D. (2016). Bottles, bags, ropes and toothbrushes: the struggle to track ocean plastics. Nature News, 536(7616), 263.

  27. Lebreton, L., Egger, M., & Slat, B. (2019). A global mass budget for positively buoyant macroplastic debris in the oceanScientific reports9(1), 1-10.

  28. Woodall, L. C., Sanchez-Vidal, A., Canals, M., Paterson, G. L., Coppock, R., Sleight, V., … & Thompson, R. C. (2014). The deep sea is a major sink for microplastic debris. Royal Society Open Science, 1(4), 140317.

  29. Lebreton, L., Egger, M., & Slat, B. (2019). A global mass budget for positively buoyant macroplastic debris in the oceanScientific reports9(1), 1-10.

  30. Under growth scenarios, the authors assume annual  growth rates continue in line with the average increase in global plastic production over the decade from 2005-2015.

  31. This data is also presented in the review by Law (2017): Law, K. L. (2017). Plastics in the marine environment. Annual review of marine science9, 205-229. Available at: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060409.

  32. Rochman, C. M., Browne, M. A., Underwood, A. J., Van Franeker, J. A., Thompson, R. C., & Amaral‐Zettler, L. A. (2016). The ecological impacts of marine debris: unraveling the demonstrated evidence from what is perceived. Ecology97(2), 302-312. Available at: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1890/14-2070.1.

  33. Law, K. L. (2017). Plastics in the marine environment. Annual review of marine science9, 205-229. Available at: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060409.

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  68. For example polychlorinated biphenyl; PCB.

  69. Biomagnification (sometimes termed ‘bioamplification’ or ‘biological magnification’), is the increasing concentration of a substance in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain. This occurs as organisms at higher trophic levels eat significant masses of contaminated organisms at lower levels; with increased consumption, these concentrations can increase.

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  73. Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, “Announcement of releasing the Catalogues of Imported Wastes Management,” (Announcement no. 39, 2017).

  74. Brooks, A. L., Wang, S., & Jambeck, J. R. (2018). The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade. Science Advances, 4(6), eaat0131. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/6/eaat0131.

  75. Brooks, A. L., Wang, S., & Jambeck, J. R. (2018). The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade. Science Advances, 4(6), eaat0131. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/6/eaat0131.

  76. Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

  77. Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

  78. Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L. C., Carson, H. S., Thiel, M., Moore, C. J., Borerro, J. C., … & Reisser, J. (2014). Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PloS one, 9(12), e111913. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913.

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