Human consumption and disposal of plastic has reached unsustainable levels, with a significant proportion ending up in the marine ecosystem.
Management of the waste stream is poor, with high levels of single-use plastics and low recycling rates.
Plastic consumption per capita is globally high, especially in Western countries, though the problem of marine contamination is centred around Southeast Asia.
In addition to posing a physical hazard, plastic is particularly insidious due to its ability to act as a transport vector for toxins, including heavy metals and plasticisers.
The impact on marine life is significant and there is not a single facet of the marine ecosystem that is not impacted.
Plastic remains a lingering threat in the marine ecosystem, taking up to hundreds of years to break down and often fragments rather than degrades.