What is the current state of the plastic pollution crisis?
- About 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s – the weight of roughly a billion elephants or 47 million blue whales.
- Only about 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment.
- Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year.
- The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute.
- There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans – enough to circle the Earth over 400 times.
- Countries like Canada, the U.S., and the UK export plastic waste to various countries in Asia and Africa7-9, offloading their trash problem to other communities.
Who is most impacted by plastic pollution?
- Scientists have documented 700 marine species affected by ocean plastic.
- Up to 9 of 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 sea turtles[ and more than half of whale and dolphin species have ingested plastic.
- In the Canadian Arctic, 87% of birds have ingested plastics of some sort.
- Crustaceans tested at the ocean’s deepest point, Mariana Trench, had ingested plastic.
- People living along rivers and coastlines in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are the most impacted by plastic pollution.