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Report: Ocean to house more plastic than fish by 2050

Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 @ 7:41 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 @ 7:41 AM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The world’s oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if current business practices are continued, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum Tuesday.

A collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and business consulting company McKinsey & Company, the report suggested the numbers stress the need to build a strong after-use plastics economy.

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“The best research currently available estimates that there are over 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today,” the study, titled “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics,” said. “In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”

According to the report, 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean each year – “equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.

“If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050,” said the report.

A majority of the leakage comes from plastic packaging. The study’s authors found most plastic packaging is only used once before it’s discarded.

The report was based on interviews with more than 180 experts and an analysis of more than 200 reports.