Statement from Ocean Conservancy: New Study Reveals the Amount of Plastic Entering the Ocean from Land

Marine Debris Infographic

Media Contact:  Julia Roberson, 202-316-7044

Statement to Media 2.12.15

From Ocean Conservancy:

“This afternoon, the journal Science released a groundbreaking study which, for the first time, quantifies the amount of plastic going into the ocean from land – estimated between 5 and 14 million tons annually. This study demonstrates that the sheer volume of plastic in the ocean is orders of magnitude greater than what has been previously estimated.  In the next decade our ocean could hold one pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish.

We know that plastic is bad for ocean wildlife and habitats – animals ingest it and can get entangled in it; it litters our beaches and waterways.  Volunteers with Ocean Conservancy’s International Cleanup have collected over 190 million pounds of trash, including plastic waste, since the event began 30 years ago.   And plastic waste is not just an environmental concern.   For countries where plastic consumption has outpaced waste management, there are real concerns around public health, job creation, tourism and quality of life.

But while this new study offers some startling revelations, it also shines a spotlight on a central question that could be a game changer in tackling the problem of ocean plastic: how can we create the right set of economic incentives for the collection and treatment of plastic waste in the countries that matter most? By finally identifying this critical area where we can make a difference on a global level, we can now begin the hard work of bringing corporations, businesses, governments and non-profits together to help solve the ocean plastics problem.

Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance is working to identify ways to improve waste collection and management in countries where the plastic is originating. With improved waste collection comes improved health and sanitation that benefits everyone – and the ocean.”

About the Trash Free Seas Alliance:

Ocean Conservancy has mobilized millions of people around the world to remove trash from our ocean and waterways. But removal is just one part of the solution. We must also prevent trash from reaching our waterways and the ocean, which is why in 2012 Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash Free Seas Alliance. The Alliance unites industry, science and conservation leaders who share a common goal to reduce the amount of plastic waste flowing into the ocean. For a full list of Alliance members,

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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