A growing plastic smog is choking the world’s oceans — and it shows no signs of slowing down

More than 170 trillion plastic particles weighing roughly 2 million metric tons are afloat in the world’s oceans, according to new research, and that number could nearly triple by 2040 if no action is taken.

The authors of the peer-reviewed research paper, published Wednesday in the PLOS ONE journal, warn that “cleanup is futile,” if plastic continues to be produced at the current rate. They blame the plastic industry for rejecting commitments on buying recycled material or designing for recyclability.

To tackle the plastic problem, the researchers call on lawmakers to urgently enact policy measures that focus on source reduction and reuse, in order to minimize ecological, social and economic harm.

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