Washington (EFE).- The concentration of plastic in the oceans has experienced an “unprecedented increase” since 2005 to reach an approximate current level of more than 2 million tons, according to a study published this Wednesday in the academic journal PLoS. ONE.
“Starting in 2005, there was a rapid and consistent increase in the abundance of plastic. Based on our model, we estimate that in 2019 there were floating (in the ocean) between 82 and 358 trillion particles (171 trillion on average) weighing between 1.1 and 4.9 million tons (2.3 million on average).” says the study.
The researchers, including scientists from the United States, Sweden, Chile and Australia, analyzed global data on the concentration of plastics on the surface of the seas spanning from 1979 to 2019.
They noted that, from 1990 to 2005, the amounts of plastic varied without detecting a clear trend, something that could be due to “important policies that were implemented during that period”, such as the ban on the discharge of plastics from ships included in the International Convention for Prevent Pollution from Ships (Marpol).
Starting in 2006, however, as global production grew, and as macroplastics already floating on the ocean surface began to break down into microplastics, the concentration of these types of compounds increased considerably.
Immediate attention is required to save the oceans
The researchers admit the limitations of collecting data on a global scale, but argue that their findings are in line with the trends recorded on the beaches, where data is collected independently.
“The parallels strongly suggest that plastic pollution in the world’s oceans over the last 15 years has reached unprecedented levels,” they conclude, and call on politicians from around the world to come together to pass rules with specific objectives and that are not limited to the business sphere.
They also warn that without urgent and forceful measures to limit the amount of plastic that ends up in the water, the rate at which this material ends up in the oceans could almost triple by 2040.