New Study Shows The Ocean Will Have More Plastic Junk Than Fish By 2050

In depressing news, a new study finds the ocean will be home to more plastic garbage than fish by 2050.

Conducted by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the study projects the total quantity of the plastic waste in the ocean will weigh more than all the species of fish combined.

In other words, we only have 34 years to get our sh*t together.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation writes in a press release,

Given projected growth in consumption, in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight), and the entire plastics industry will consume 20% of total oil production, and 15% of the annual carbon budget.

You might have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, aka "Trash Island," where tons of plastic waste has accumulated into a legitimate island in the Pacific Ocean. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara estimate people dump between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean every single year.

To put it into even more disturbing terms, co-author of the study Roland Geyer tells Popular Science,

Using the average density of uncompacted plastic waste, 8 million metric tons — the midpoint of our estimate — would cover an area 34 times the size of Manhattan ankle-deep in plastic waste.

As if we didn't already know the ocean was in trouble, this study proves it's going to get worse faster than we previously thought.

Citations: By the Year 2050, There Will Be More Plastic Garbage in the Ocean Than Fish (Mic)