Crucially, the increased use of plastic due to COVID-19 will heighten the urgency to develop interventions at all stages of the value chain. "It reduces the amount of plastic that could eventually end up in the seas and on land but it also poses many other environmental problems, including a significant contribution to global warming", saidEd Cook, a researcher at the University of Leeds and an author of the study.
The report The proposed solutions include the redirection of hundreds of billions of dollars earmarked for plastics production to alternative materials, recycling facilities and the promotion of waste collection in developing countries.
By taking these actions, the annual flow of plastic waste into the oceans could be reduced by 80% in the next two decades.
The report says more than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste will enter nature and pollute land, rivers, and oceans over the next 20 years without decisive action.
The study - which was produced in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Common Seas - warns that current commitments from government and industry to curb plastic waste are falling drastically short and are on track to reduce plastic pollution by a mere seven per cent by 2040.
The research found that if no action is taken to address the projected growth in plastic production and consumption, the amount of plastic entering the ocean each year would grow from 11 million metric tons to 29 million metric tons over the next 20 years, equivalent to almost 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of plastic on each metre of coastline worldwide.
If no action is taken, however, the amount of plastic going into the sea every year will rise from 11 million tons to 29 million tons, leaving a cumulative 600 million tons swilling in the ocean by 2040, the equivalent weight of 3 million blue whales, according to the study published in the journal Science.
Annual plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions would also be cut by 25pc, and more than 700,000 jobs could be created, the authors said.
Researchers explained that squander collection is the most crucial way to lower air pollution, but emphasised that there's no one particular option to mitigating plastic pollution.
The plastics problem is down to a growing population using more plastic per person, a shift to low-value and non-recyclable materials, and increased consumption of plastic in countries with low rubbish collection rates, it said.
Tom Dillon, Pew's Vice President for Environment, said: "There's no single solution to ocean plastic pollution, but through rapid and concerted action we can break the plastic wave".
"This scientific inquiry has for the initially time provided us a detailed insight into the staggering quantities of plastic waste that are becoming dumped into the world's terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems", Costas Velis, a lecturer at the College of Leeds in the United Kingdom and an author of the report, reported in a assertion.
The paper recommends, however, governments implement laws to discourage new plastic production and provide subsidies for reusable alternatives. We can't simply say we're going to recycle everything or use less material, we need to take a holistic approach and look at the whole system. The report was also developed in partnership with a panel of 17 global experts.
The study, which was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Systemiq Ltd. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org. The team used a first-of-its-kind economic model to come up with calculations and projections. At the heart of our work is the core belief that only a smart combination of policy, technology, funding, and consumer engagement can address system-level challenges.