By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans by weight than fish, according to a new report released by the World Economic Council.
According to the WEC, the recycle rate of plastic packaging, (1/4 of all plastic created is for packaging purposes) is dismal, at just 14 percent. While paper is recycled at a rate of 58 percent and iron and steel recycled at 90 percent. The report noted that 1/3 of all plastic packaging ends up in nature, with millions of tons of it ending up in the world’s oceans.
The report says that by 2050 plastic production around the world will increase three times what it is now, to 1,124 million tons. The World Economic Council says that societies around the world need to improve their recycling efforts on a massive scale. It says that people need to be given incentives to recycle, use reusable packaging and improve waste collection infrastructure.
Studies have found alarming amounts of plastic being ingested by fish. One study by University of California, Davis researchers found that 25 percent of wild caught food fish from markets in California and Indonesia contained man made trash in their guts, mostly plastic materials and fibrous materials from clothing. Scientists are currently studying whether these man made materials can transfer to the meat of fish, but as of now, this stuff is just found in fish guts.