Marine plastic waste

Under the water, the plastic waste is increasing and affecting the marine ecosystem.

From toy packaging to car dashboards, plastics are used everywhere, many of which end up as waste and accumulate in the ocean, causing a significant impact on marine animals.

Entanglement or plastic ingestion has been documented for more than 900 marine species.

Plastic ingestion has been found in 56% of marine mammals, 44% of seabirds, 100% of sea turtles and 70% of fish species.

Global plastic production was 2 million tonnes in the 1950s, but it reached 440 million tonnes in 2017 and is expected to continue rising.

Global plastic production and accumulation and future trends

Source:UNEP (2021)

The amount flowing into the oceans is also predicted to increase from 11 million tonnes annually today to 29 million tonnes annually in 2040.

If this trend continues, there may be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish before 2050.


Source:WEF (2016)

To reduce plastic waste, it is important to promote re-use and recycling. It is estimated that more than 20% of plastic products on the market today are reusable. For example, 330 billion single-use plastic bags are produced globally each year, however, if 95% of these bags were made into reusable eco-bags, this would mean a reduction of 300 billion bags per year (WEF, 2017).

Plastic production should be reduced by ensuring that plastic products are used as little as possible and, if they are used, that they are recyclable or reusable.。

(Written by: Yuko Onishi)


United Nations Environmental Programme 
(UNEP), 2021, From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic polluition.

World Economic Forum
(WEF), 2016, The New Plastics Economy Rethinking the future of plastics.

, 2017, System Initiative on Environment and Natural Resource Security The New Plastics Economy Catalysing action.