A new report reveals disturbing new facts about how people are using plastic products around the world and their impact on the environment. The new study, published by the World Economic Forum, says that 32 percent of all plastic products created on Earth wind up somewhere they aren’t supposed to – namely, clogging up the world’s waterways and oceans. What’s more, the amount of plastic trash on Earth is increasing at an alarming rate. Based on future projections, the report estimates that there will be more pieces of plastic in the world’s ocean than there are fish by 2050.

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It’s well known that much of the world’s plastic debris ends up in our oceans and other waterways. For some time, that amount was generally accepted to be around eight metric tons annually, but it could now be as much as 13 metric tons. This new study, conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, breaks that figure down into a visual anyone can understand: approximately one dump truck of plastic every minute. If the current trends continue, and they are expected to, the amount of plastic we dump into the world’s waterways and oceans will grow to two trucks a minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. At that point, there will be as much plastic in the oceans as fish.

Related: World’s first Ocean Cleanup Array will start removing plastic from the seas in 2016

According to the report and prevailing common sense, single-use plastic items are the biggest part of the problem. After interviewing over 180 experts in the field, researchers determined that most plastic packaging is only used once before being discarded. The report calls for further restrictions on single-use packaging, including the controversial plastic shopping bags that are already taxed or banned in many places. Although governments hold the power to enact plastic bans, it’s key to remember that private individuals can make smarter choices about their plastic use every day.

+ World Economic Forum: The New Plastics Economy

Via Al Jazeera

Images via Shutterstock (1, 2)