Plastic as a persistent marine pollutant

From 1950-2015, plastic production has increased to 322 million metric tons (Mt) per year, approaching the total weight of the human population. Of this, 4.8–12.7 Mt enter the ocean, as macroscopic litter or microplastic particles, where it cannot be easily removed, accumulates in organisms and sediments, persists much longer than on land, and toxic effects move up the food chain, including to people. We argue that plastic should be treated as a persistent marine pollutant and suggest a Global Convention on Plastic Pollution that incentivizes collaboration between governments, producers, scientists, and citizens to solve the global plastic accumulation.

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