We Just Dumped 11 Million Pounds of Plastic in the Ocean

For the first time, a new study from the Ocean Cleanup quantifies how much plastic the world’s rivers are pumping into the sea.

World Oceans Day took place last Thursday. Today, there are about 5,000 more metric tons of plastic waste in the ocean than there were yesterday. That’s about the equivalent of every San Franciscan heading down to Ocean Beach and chucking a 13-pound trash bag full of plastic into the surf every day. Worse, this is only the amount of plastic coming from the world’s ocean-bound rivers, not total output. (Add other outflow sources, like aquaculture, shipping, and direct dumping, and those trash bags get much heavier.)

This is all according to a new peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Nature Communications by Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation that has been on a mission to eliminate half of the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 2020.

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