We’ve Thrown So Much Plastic Into the Ocean That Now We’re Literally Eating It

Written by on March 23, 2016 in Environment, Environmental Hazards with 32 Comments


By Claire Bernish | The Anti Media

(ANTIMEDIA) Recent reports of a phenomenal quantity of plastic inundating the world’s oceans are alarming enough — but another aspect of the problem should snap everyone to attention: humans ultimately consume that plastic.

According to Plastic Oceans, this pollution and its effects are “an environmental catastrophe of our own making.” Indeed, humans produce in excess of 300 million tons of plastic each year — equivalent to the combined weight of all adult humans on earth — and nearly “half of this we use just once [and] then throw it away.”

Further, the perceived conveniences of tossing items into the garbage is pure illusion.

“There is no ‘away’ because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible,” said Sir David Attenborough, according to Plastic Oceans. “When you cast it into the ocean … it does not go away.”

For the benefits plastic originally appeared to offer, the untold number of products now made of or contained in plastic has created an environmental and health nightmare arguably unlike any other.

In 2015, the BBC reported eight million tons of plastic — enough to cover“an area 34 times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island to ankle depth” — finds its way to the planet’s oceans every year. Such a quantification of our plastic waste was finally possible thanks to a study published in Science Magazine and presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The quantity entering the ocean is equal to about five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world, Dr. Jenna Jambeck, study lead author from the University of Georgia, told the BBC. Study researchers caution the findings and quantifications are a middle ground, as plastic — despite its indestructible traits — can still break down into smaller pieces and particles.

A more recent study by the World Economic Forum estimated the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 — in part because a“staggering” 32 percent of plastic packaging “escapes collections systems.” Even so, only 5 percent of plastics are effectively recycled — making the WEF’s prediction for the use of plastic to double in the next 20 years even more dire.

Truthout noted recent “estimates indicate that upwards of 8 million tons of plastic are added to the planet’s oceans every year, the equivalent of a dumptruck full of plastic every minute. That is enough plastic to have led one scientist to estimate that people who consume average amounts of seafood are ingesting approximately 11,000 particles of plastic every year.”

Unless we turn to alternative and less toxic means for producing plastics — such as hemp — our failures in recycling will, indeed, come back to haunt us. As phytoplankton populations drop and overfishing remains an issue, marine plastic pollution simply compounds a massive catastrophe.

This article (We Throw so Much Plastic into the Ocean That Now We’re Literally Eating It) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish andtheAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

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  1. 1172267392798435@facebook.com' Susan Redmond-Coyle says:

    I recently spent a week on Cayman Brac in the Caribbean. I was absolutely mortified at the amount of plastic on the beaches. Everyday my husband and I would pick some up, I know it was in vain, but at least I felt good about doing it. It would probably take many years and manpower to even come close to clearing all the debris. It made me sad to see the impact on this planet we as humans have created ?

  2. 990694044305343@facebook.com' Amen Femus says:

    They’ve honestly gotta ban plastics or make it completely illegal to not recycle

  3. 10156623894775580@facebook.com' Michael Lorinc Lenkovic Mukics says:

    I know they’re starting a program to clean the ocean by 2016-2017 so let’s hope for the best!

  4. 10207404141636531@facebook.com' Laura Young says:


  5. 10208852598811173@facebook.com' Kelsey Vitiello Boncorddo says:

    Grab a bag, and some gloves and start picking it up! Recycle!!!! Just a thought.

  6. 606533142783310@facebook.com' Buck Rogers says:

    the problem is no one cares anymore.

  7. 10208715508825851@facebook.com' Shannon M. Champion says:

    This is not a plastic problem, it’s an asshole problem… Be responsible and make sure what you consume is recycled

    • 175459669453561@facebook.com' Tim D Tailsman says:

      U got it

    • 633138233456417@facebook.com' Bryan Weaver says:

      I recycle paper, plastic and aluminum.

    • 548094392007683@facebook.com' Elaine Komis says:

      Not all plastic can be recycled and this problem has been escalating for decades. But you’re right it is an asshole problem. And the title goes to the assholes who won’t legalize hemp which can produce a biodegradable plastic.

    • 548094392007683@facebook.com' Elaine Komis says:

      Not all plastic can be recycled and this problem has been escalating for decades. But you’re right it is an asshole problem. And the title goes to the assholes who won’t legalize hemp which can produce a biodegradable plastic.

  8. 1154347051255862@facebook.com' Connie Tate says:

    Recycle is the answer…..

  9. 10207238266447555@facebook.com' Chris Merrill says:

    What a sobering stat

  10. 1617295078532140@facebook.com' Frank DeViller says:

    It’s a political problem New York dumps it’s garbage in the Atlantic Ocean .

  11. 1529455484016640@facebook.com' Kathy McFarlane says:

    I went to my local convenience store today to pick up just afew things. I brought in a bag with me and handed it to the cashier, he looked at it and tried to scan it. I told him that it was a prepurchased bag that I had brought in with me because “I am trying to save the planet”–ha-ha. While I was processing my debit card, he proceeded to bag my purchases in a plastic bag and put it into my own shopping bag. I looked at him in amazement and said “That just defeated the purpose”. He replied “I’m sorry, this has never happened before.” #BETHECHANGE

  12. 563226887191472@facebook.com' Jessie Chee says:

    Save the earth for a better future

  13. 10207348218978139@facebook.com' Jayne Kinker Rogers says:

    Been doing that for a long time. Take my own reusable cloth bags shopping. Reuse plastic bottles

  14. 1536575053307313@facebook.com' Teri Brekken says:

    I hate plastic when are we gonna stop like others have!

  15. 925503330832346@facebook.com' Cheryl Lynn Gibbs Bowen says:

    There needs to be a litter patrol for beaches and lots of trash cans.

  16. 1667214156872548@facebook.com' Linda Hand says:

    I. Recycle

  17. 10153630581857946@facebook.com' Shaun Watson says:

    Plastic isn’t the problem humans are

  18. 877433052365556@facebook.com' Eve Deckard Slocum says:

    I am part of 2 groups that pick up trash in our town, a beach town. It’s pathetic the trash that we pick up on a daily basis. #trashoffmybeach

  19. 630367323783777@facebook.com' Lisa Makaroff Bensette says:

    Single use items should be made from materials that decompose..We have to stop buying things that contribute to this madness…

  20. 449248328593013@facebook.com' Kim Rice says:

    It is long past time for petroleum products to be done away with altogether in favor of more earth friendly materials connected to our need for fuel, power, food and drink packaging, etc.

  21. 782859348481506@facebook.com' Stephen Tierney says:

    If we moved to biodegradable hemp plastic, this would no longer be an issue.

  22. 1164418080236596@facebook.com' Grace Cecilia Agdasiw says:

    Being a responsible user can help even a bit

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