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  • Writer's pictureTony Felice

The true costs of a plastic society.

How much does it cost society for plastic pollution? The result is not pretty. Conservatively the yearly estimate is $13 billion USD. In addition, the latest research suggests that plastic is responsible for a 1 to 5% decline in the benefits humans derive from the oceans.

Another study by the Marine Pollution Bulletin reported that plastic pollution in the world's oceans costs society up to $2.5 trillion a year. According to The Guardian, plastic waste costs up to $33,000 per ton in reduced environmental value.

One study comes from researchers from the UK and Norway, who analyzed the multiple ways in which plastic pollution can damage and destroy natural resources. The annual cost per ton of a reduced environmental value runs between $3,300 and $33,000 per ton of marine plastic (2011 values). In 2011 it was estimated the oceans contained between 75 and 150 million tons of plastic at that time (probably much more now). Plastic leaches chemicals, including dyes, metals, and flame-retardants. They are toxic to oxygen-producing microorganisms, which produce 10% of the oxygen on the entire planet. 

A surprising and sad find, plastic bags at the very bottom of the Mariana Trench--the deepest and most remote spot on earth.

There are 405 Dead Zones in the ocean. 

Plastic pollution is caused by inadequate waste disposal. Globally, more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since its first large-scale use in the 1950s  

About 6.3 billion metric tons of that became waste.
9% was recycled and 
12% was incinerated. 
79% went landfills, rivers, and oceans. 

Seafood: It is a diet staple for 20% of the global population. Not only are fish ingested plastic, but we that eat fish are also ingesting plastic as well. 

Killing off fish stocks by ingestion and entanglement reduces supplies, which is a huge threat—loss of food supply and jobs.  

Loss of tourism industry: Beaches worldwide are suffering from waves of plastic washing ashore, leaving the pristine beach a myth. Nobody wants to go to a polluted beach. In addition to the loss of income from tourism, there is a side effect of health as well. 

Heritage: Some marine species, sea turtles, whales, and birds are a cultural significance. Entanglement, plastic ingestion is a threat.

Biodiversity- With marine debris harming more than 800 species, the only organism that benefits from plastics is alga—those green ponds. Think about the ocean being that way. 

It is a sad state of affairs, despite the viral news on plastic pollution, our oceans, and waste, people, continue to trash the beaches. leaving being plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic food wrapping, plastic toys, plastic packaging, plastic bottles, plastic personal items, plastic plates, plastic eating utensils, plastic shoes… the list goes on and on. 


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