25 Facts about Ocean Plastic Pollution

June 18, 2020

Ocean plastic is one of the reasons Soseas exists, the images of turtles with plastic straws in their nostrils and seabirds with stomachs full of plastic crystallised the need to reduce plastic waste and it’s impact on the oceans in our mind.

To inform and inspire is one of the goals of Soseas, that’s why in this post we’ll be sharing our top 25 ocean plastic facts.


ocean plastic pollution


Fact #1 Over 1 million sea animals die annually from ocean plastic, including sharks, fish, mammals, sea birds and more. Even animals on the ocean floor aren’t safe from plastic pollution.

Fact #2 Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, even beaches on uninhabited islands have been found to be littered with plastic trash.

Fact #3 About 8 million metric tonnes of plastic are thrown into the ocean every year.

Fact #4 As much as 8.3 billion plastic straws could be polluting beaches worldwide. 500 million plastic straws are used in the US alone!


Fact #5 ⅓ of fish caught for human consumption have been found to contain plastic. The impact of this consumption of plastic is yet to be fully understood.

Fact #6 83% of drinking water samples taken globally have been found to contain plastic. This makes it almost impossible to not consume plastic!


turtle ocean


Fact #7 Plastics make up about 90% of sea litter, this litter will sit in oceans for 100s of years!

Fact #8 The great pacific garbage patch is made up of a high concentration of plastic debris and covers a massive 1.6 million square kilometers which is twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France.

Fact #9 A 2015 study estimated 15 to 51 trillion micro plastic pieces could be in the ocean.

Fact #10 All the plastic bottles collected as part of the international coastal cleanup in 2017 stacked on top of one another would be 372 times taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the world’s taller building)

Fact #11 Dumped fishing gear is the biggest ocean plastic polluter with 640,000 tonnes dumped into the ocean annually.

Fact #12 Research suggests over 50% of sea turtles have consumed plastic. A plastic bag can closely resemble a jellyfish (natural prey of a turtle) and as a result many plastic bags are consumed by turtles and other sea faring animals.

Fact #13 Plastic consumption from seabirds is even more shocking, over 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

Fact #14 It is estimated there are between 15 and 51 trillion microplastics in the ocean which is more stars than there are in the milkyway!

beach plastic pollution

Fact #15 By 2050 it is predicted that the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the amount of fish in the ocean.

Fact #16 China and Indonesia are the countries that are polluting the oceans the most, 80% of plastic pollution comes from just 20 countries.

Fact #17 ingesting just a single piece of plastic has a lifetime mortality rate of 20.4%

Fact #18 the amount equivalent to 1 garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute.

Fact #19 88% of the ocean surface is polluted with plastic, but even more surprisingly this only accounts for 1% of ocean plastic waste!


under water ocean

Fact #20 700 species are at risk of extinction due to ocean plastic pollution.

Fact #21 Coral encountering plastic increases the chances of catching disease from 4% to 89%, a massive 20 times!

Fact #22 The amount of plastic present in the oceans could increase tenfold over the next decade meaning there could be a massive 80 million tonnes entering the ocean! 

Fact #23 The estimated cost of marine litter is between €259 million and €695 million, mainly to the fishing and tourism sectors. 

Fact #24 Fish in the north pacific ocean ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tonnes of plastic a year, this plastic and the associated toxicity then makes it way up the food chain where the toxicity is amplified.

Fact #25 Scientists have now declared 200 areas as “dead zones” which are areas which can now longer support life.

There we have 25 facts about ocean plastic you can use to educate yourself and others, feel free to link this post to friends of family that you feel could use a boost to their plastic pollution knowledge.

If this blogpost has motivated you to reduce your plastic consumption, we have plenty of blogposts with full guides on reducing plastic consumption which you can check out here.


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