Marine Litter Vital Graphics

Report shows that we have to take a hard look at how we produce and use plastics

Produced by GRID-Arendal and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the new report shows that there is a need to take a hard look at how we produce and use plastic.

The Vital Graphics report illustrates the problem very clearly. In 1950 the human population was 2.5 billion and global production of plastic was 1.5 million tonnes. Today there are more than 7 billion people in the world and plastic production exceeds 300 million tonnes annually. The Vital Graphics report states that if the trend continues, another 33 billion tonnes of plastic will have accumulated around the planet by 2050.

In Europe, about 40% of plastic production goes to single-use, disposable items such as food packaging. In the United States, Canada and China, research indicates one-third of plastic was thrown away after first use.

The presence of marine litter in birds, turtles and mammals is well documented. A recent comprehensive review revealed marine litter in 100% of marine turtle, 59% of whale, 36% of seal and 40% of seabird species examined.

The full report can be downloaded here: