- Issue: Fall 2016
Plastic pollution is everywhere, from Atlantic beaches to Arctic sea ice to huge swirling vortexes of trash in the Pacific Ocean. And you can find it in every shape and size, from microscopic particles to whole refrigerators full of plastic parts. But plastic itself isn’t the enemy. It’s the way we handle it that needs to change.
THE BIG 5
More than 50% of the plastic waste entering the oceans currently comes from just five rapidly developing countries.
STEMMING THE TIDE
Just 20 countries are producing the vast majority of the plastic leaking into oceans. If those countries could halve the amount of mismanaged waste they generate through infrastructure improvements (such as increasing trash collection rates), the flow of plastic into the ocean would plummet by almost 40%.
The biggest reason so much plastic winds up in oceans isn’t casual littering. It’s the mismanagement of trash—especially in developing countries, where markets are rapidly growing but waste management systems are inadequate or improperly managed.