The Devastating Impact of Plastic Pollution on Our Oceans and Marine Life

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Plastic debris is accumulating in our oceans at a steady and deadly rate. Conservative estimates suggest that eight million metric tons of plastic finds its way into the world’s oceans every single year. That is equivalent to two Empire State Buildings’ worth of plastic going into the ocean every month. Plastic pollution never completely biodegrades; instead, it just breaks down into small particles that remain in the ocean for years. These particles are consumed by seabirds, mammals, and even fish, with often fatal results.

Plastic pollution will have far-reaching impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems for centuries to come. To prevent our oceans from becoming completely inundated with plastic, we need to tackle the issue at its source by preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place. These two fact sheets, Plastic Peril and Choked, lay out the facts of plastic pollution and suggest ways to curb this deadly threat.

A dead decomposed bird with plastic in its stomach area

Urge the Biden administration to enact a strong Global Plastics Treaty

Plastic pollution has been linked to everything from cancer in humans to death in wildlife. A strong Global Plastics Treaty could help rid the world of harmful plastics—and as one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of plastic, the United States has a critical role to play.

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