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Science. 2015 Feb 13;347(6223):768-71. doi: 10.1126/science.1260352.

Marine pollution. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.

Author information

1
College of Engineering, University of Georgia, 412 Driftmier Engineering Center, Athens, GA 30602, USA. jjambeck@uga.edu.
2
Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.
3
Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia.
4
DSM Environmental Services, Windsor, VT 05089, USA.
5
College of Engineering, University of Georgia, 412 Driftmier Engineering Center, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
6
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
7
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
8
Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.

Abstract

Plastic debris in the marine environment is widely documented, but the quantity of plastic entering the ocean from waste generated on land is unknown. By linking worldwide data on solid waste, population density, and economic status, we estimated the mass of land-based plastic waste entering the ocean. We calculate that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Population size and the quality of waste management systems largely determine which countries contribute the greatest mass of uncaptured waste available to become plastic marine debris. Without waste management infrastructure improvements, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the ocean from land is predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.

PMID:
25678662
DOI:
10.1126/science.1260352
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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