What happens to plastic in the sea?

Infographic references
What happens to plastic in the sea?
Sources of plastic entering the ocean:
The data was taken from the Boomerang Alliance’s study: 
www.d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/198/attachments/original/1457910411/
Media_backgrounder_Government_All_at_Sea_on_Marine_Plastic_Pollution.pdf?1457910411


In February 2016, this data was put before an Australian senate inquiry:
www.smh.com.au/environment/marine-plastics-pollution-senate-inquiry-covers-the-ugly-truth-of-the-issue-20160218-gmxoe1.html

Similar estimates based on beach clean-ups suggest that 46 per cent of items that wash up on beaches are food related packaging, cutlery and straws.
Source: Packaging Digest, 2011, www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/spc-tackles-global-problem-packaging-and-marine-debris
 
Proportion of plastic that floats or sinks:
Eunomia, 2016, www.eunomia.co.uk/reports-tools/plastics-in-the-marine-environment/

70 per cent or more sinks to the floor, estimates vary. Sources: National Geographic Society, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/ and Earth Institute Columbia University, www.blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/01/26/our-oceans-a-plastic-soup/.
 
Size split of floating plastic: 
M Erikson, et al, 2014, ‘Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea’, PLoS ONE, vol 9(12)
 
Local Authority costs of beach cleaning:
This figure is an average of €146,000 per municipality per year for UK, and  €200,000 per municipality per year in Belgium and the Netherlands.
As referenced in UNEP, Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastic Technical Report Annex, p35,
www.unep.org/about/sgb/Portals/50153/UNEA/Marine%20Plastic%20Debris%20and%20Microplastic
%20Technical%20Report%20Advance%20Copy%20Annex.pdf

 
Species affected by entanglement and plastic ingestion:
D W Laist, 1997, ‘Impacts of marine debris: entanglement of marine life in marine debris including a comprehensive list of species with entanglement and ingestion records’, Marine debris, sources, impacts, and solutions, pp 99–139, Springer-Verlag
 
Human ingestion of plastic microparticles:
L Van Cauwenberghe and C R Janssen, 2014, ‘Microplastics in bivalves cultured for human consumption’, Environmental Pollution, 193, pp 65-70 
 
Microbead toxicity:
www.web.archive.org/web/20160820231637/http:/www.5gyres.org/the-plastic-problem

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