Marine Plastic Pollution – By the Numbers



  • Globally 275 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated each year 
  • In 2016 over 9 million tonnes of plastic will enter the world’s oceans
  • The direct cost of plastic entering the marine environment is estimated to be $AUD18billion p.a.
  • The amount of plastics consumed doubles every 10 years
  • CSIRO has recently commented “Australia is probably a net exporter of debris to some neighbouring marine regions and surrounding countries.”
  • Australians consume over 3million tonnes of plastic products and packaging each year
  • We recycle less than 10% of the plastics we consume in Australia
  • Between 100-130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic waste has the potential to enter our waterways
  • We spend approx. $500million p.a. to combat litter – capturing around 40% (by volume) of all the plastics consumed in Australia.
  • Litter comprises 60% of all Marine Plastic Pollution, including:
    • Around 420 million plastic bottles
    • Another 200 million other pieces of plastic packaging
    • 180 million plastic bags
    • 10 million plastic products
    • 11 billion+ synthetic cigarette butts (3,500T)
  • Over 200 species are directly affected by marine plastic pollution
  • 96% of all marine biodiversity is vulnerable to the ingestion of microplastic
  • European studies have shown that people with an average seafood diet are ingesting some 11,000 plastic particles annually


Author: Dave West