How many animals are killed by rubbish?
Around the world, an estimated one million birds and 100,000 marine animals die each year as a result of plastic pollution. This includes fish, turtles, whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. It is estimated that 56% of the planets whale, dolphin and porpoise species have consumed plastic.
The two main ways marine animals encounter these plastic pollutants is in the form of marine debris which they either ingest, which clogs their stomachs; or plastic-based fishing gear which they get entangled in. It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes of the worldwide 8 million tonnes of plastic fishing equipment used annually to harvest seafood is deposited into the ocean, either by loss or deliberate disposal.
An estimated 20% of all the plastic waste in the oceans comes from marine industry sources. In some regions, marine industry contributes to more than half the plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with fishing nets, ropes & lines. No matter the source, it is the poor ocean dwelling animals that are affected by the slow, painful demise.
In a report by Lebreton, L.C.,Van der Zwet, J., Damsteeg, J.W., Slat, B., Andrady, A. & Reisser, J. 2017 River plastic emissions into the world’s oceans. Nature Communication, 8,15622. The estimated annual plastic inputs from rivers into the ocean, given as data for the top 20 rivers, and by continental region, shows Australia-Pacific responsible for 30 000 tonnes.