The Big Picture
Local surf champ Dede Suryana rides a wave laden with plastic bags, noodle wrappers, and other trash in South Java, Indonesia, in 2013. The murky surf was photographed after a storm in a remote area located some 15 hours by car from Jakarta. Plastic packaging and single-use items account for 61 percent of litter scattered across beaches worldwide, with debris found in every ocean, including the waters off remote islands, the two poles, and even the deep sea floor. In 2017, factories produced a cumulative 8.3 billion metric tons of new plastic—only 9 percent of that amount has ever been recycled. Up to 13 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year; equivalent to a garbage truck emptying trash into the sea every minute. Pew is working with governments, industry, scientists, and nongovernmental organizations to better understand this global problem, and help find solutions aimed at reducing the amount of plastic entering the ocean.
Photo credit: Zak Noyle/A-Frame