1.3 billion tons of plastic will be in the environment by 2040

The amount of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040: it will be about 1.3 billion tons. By 2050, there will be more of it than fish in the waters, according to the BBC.

Fighting plastic bags and disposable cocktail straws will not be enough to stop pollution, according to researchers at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Oxford University, University of Leeds, and Common Seas.

More stringent measures are needed to reduce waste, such as improving waste collection and disposal, especially in developing countries, reducing plastic consumption and investment in alternative materials, and reducing imports of plastic waste.

The report says more than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste will enter nature and pollute land, rivers, and oceans over the next 20 years without decisive action. Almost 11 million tons of plastic were dumped into the ocean in 2016, researchers say. This volume may increase to 29 million tons per year in the next 20 years.

The measures that are being taken today in all industries are not effective enough; they can reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean by only 7% by 2040. Better methods are paper or compostable alternatives to single-use plastics, and packaging needs to be more than doubled to increase the percentage of recyclable material, the study said.