Ocean Plastic Could Outweigh Fish By 2050

By on January 20, 2016
Sample from a spill of plastic pellets. (Credit: Paul Nettles via Creative Commons 2.0)

A new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) argues that fish in the world’s oceans will be outnumbered, in terms of biomass, by plastic bits by the year 2050. That means that there could be more plastic than fish, by weight.

The two big factors edging this development onward are the rising popularity of plastic products, most of which are used in packaging goods, and poor recycling rates when compared to things like paper or steel. Only about 14 percent of plastic used in packaging gets recycled, WEF officials say. That compares to 58 and 90 percent for paper and steel, respectively.

The report is based on interviews with more than 180 experts and on analysis of more than 200 reports. The officials estimate that by 2050, the amount of plastics produced globally will increase three times to 1,124 million tons.

Top image: Sample from a spill of plastic pellets. (Credit: Paul Nettles via Creative Commons 2.0)

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