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The world’s oceans are being clogged by the dumping of millions of tonnes of plastic into them every year and that figure is set to rise significantly unless major improvements in waste management are adopted scientists have warned.

The debris, which includes food packaging, plastic bags, toys and bottles, is being washed into the sea each year with China being pinpointed as the number one offender.

The study estimated the amount of waste from 192 countries, calculating that around 275 million tons of plastic waste was being created with around 5 to 14 million tonnes being washed or dumped into the sea

The study estimated the amount of waste from 192 countries, calculating that around 275 million tons of plastic waste was being created with around 5 to 14 million tonnes being washed or dumped into the sea.

“Our estimate of eight million metric tonnes going into the oceans in 2010 is the equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world” said Dr Jenna Jambeck, from the University of Georgia.

“In 2025, the annual input would be about twice the 2010 input, or 10 bags full of plastic per foot of coastline. So the cumulative input for 2025 would be nearly 20 times our 2010 estimate – 100 bags of plastic per foot of coastline in the world.” She added.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which took place in San Jose, California from 12-16 February.

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