The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is twice the size of Texas, is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. The patch is bounded by an enormous gyre –the biggest of five huge, spinning circular currents in the world’s oceans that pull trash towards the center and trap it there, creating a garbage vortex.
The Ocean Cleanup initiative estimates there are about 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch that weigh an estimated 80,000 tons. The majority of the plastic found in the patch comes from the fishing industry, while between 10% and 20% of the total volume can be traced back to the 2011 Japanese tsunami.1
According to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the world produces around 460 million tons of plastic a year, which will triple by 2060 without urgent action. Globally, only about 9% of plastic waste is recycled, and as much as 22% of all plastic waste is mismanaged and ends up as litter, with large amounts making it into the oceans.2
The Ocean Cleanup has built a huge trash-collecting system, a U-shaped barrier with a net-like skirt that hangs below the surface of the water. It moves with the current and collects faster-moving plastics as they float by, but cleanup is only part of the solution. A study published recently said that without urgent policy action, the rate at which plastics enter the oceans could increase by around 2.6 times between now and 2040.3
More than one million bottles of water are sold every minute around the world and the sindustry shows no sign of slowing down. Global sales of bottled water are expected to nearly double by 2030. Researchers analyzed data from 109 countries and found that the bottled water industry saw a 73% growth in sales from 2010 to 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. In 2021, global bottled water sales reached 350 billion liters and were valued at an estimated $270 billion, a figure expected to soar to $500 billion by 2030.4
Bottled water is popular throughout the world, with the US, China and Indonesia having the largest number of consumers. Countries in the Global South together represent roughly 60% of the market. A report by the UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health showed that the bottled water industry generated roughly 600 billion plastic bottles and containers in 2021, resulting in 25 million tons of plastic waste, most of which was not recycled and ended in landfills.5
Fossil fuels are the raw ingredient for the vast majority of plastics, which have a heavy carbon footprint from manufacturing through to disposal. Around 85% of plastic water bottles, which can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, end up as waste in the ocean, adding to a vast swirl of plastic waste that poses a serious threat to marine life.6
The UN Environment Assembly passed a historic resolution last year to end plastic pollution and create the world’s first global plastic pollution treaty by 2024 – a legally binding agreement that would address the full life cycle of plastic, from its production and design to its disposal.
Each one of us can make it a personal goal to reduce plastic disposals every single day. The easiest way is to break the habit of single-use plastic bottles. All we have to do is make it a matter of routine to use re-usable water bottles and carry them with us. Nikken has outstanding water filters, namely the PiMag Waterfall® and PiMag® Sport Bottle. The replacement filters are recyclable, the water is refreshing and alkalized through the filtration process, and each time we drink from them, we know we are doing our part to live in harmony with nature.
Now through June 30, receive 20% off the PiMag® replacement filters for both the Sport Bottle and the Waterfall, along with the replacement filters for the PiMag MicroJet® Shower Systems and the KenkoAir Purifier®. It’s a win-win as we practice our total wellness lifestyle and help our oceans and marine sustain their survival.
1, 2, 3 https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/17/world/plastic-pollution-ocean-ecosystems-intl-climate/index.html
4, 5, 6 https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/16/world/plastic-water-bottles-un-report-climate/index.html