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Estimating the Global Inflow and Stock of Plastic Marine Debris Using Material Flow Analysis: a Preliminary Approach
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 Title & Authors
Estimating the Global Inflow and Stock of Plastic Marine Debris Using Material Flow Analysis: a Preliminary Approach
Jang, Yong Chang; Lee, Jongmyoung; Hong, Sunwook; Choi, Hyun Woo; Shim, Won Joon; Hong, Su Yeon;
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We estimated the global inflow and stock of plastic marine debris. In South Korea, we estimated that the annual inflow of plastic marine debris (72,956 tons) was about 1.4% of annual plastics consumption (5.2 million tons) in 2012. By applying this 1.4% ratio to global plastics production from 1950 to 2013, we estimated that 4.2 million tons of plastic debris entered the ocean in 2013 and that there is a stock of 86 million tons of plastic marine debris as of the end of 2013, assuming zero outflow. In addition, with a logistic model, if 4% of petroleum is turned into plastics, the final stock of plastic marine debris shall be 199 million tons at the end. As the inflow and the stock are different units of measurement, better indicators to assess the effectiveness of inflow-reducing policies are needed. And, as the pollution from plastic marine debris is almost irreversible, countermeasures to prevent it should be valued more, and stronger preventive measures should be taken under the precautionary principle. As this is a preliminary study based on limited information, further research is needed to clarify the tendency of inflow and stock of plastic marine debris.
Plastic marine debris;Inflow;Stock;Material flow analysis;Policy indicators;
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