Every year at least 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our ocean – that’s the equivalent of two bin lorries full every minute! Most ocean litter (80%) ends up in the sea after being washed downstream in rivers. A lot of litter (over 50%) comes from just five countries in South and East Asia; China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Tons of litter ends up on beaches around the Pacific and Indian Oceans every day.
The ocean currents (or gyres) move the litter around until it ends up as massive “plastic islands” taking up vast areas of the sea. No one really knows how big these islands are because the plastic is difficult to see from satellites and some may just be a lot of tiny pieces of plastics, like pepper in a soup. Some estimates put it at around 80,000 tonnes for the largest ones!