A Plastic Ocean

Awkward Viewing

A Plastic Planet is a documentary film looking in to the problem of plastic, on land, in our food, but mostly at sea.

It is quite a harrowing program, and some of the content is upsetting. However, if ever there was film to shock you in to action on ocean plastic it is this one.

The film takes you around the globe, where we see plastic related deaths of Laysan Albatrosses on Midway (pictured), the plight of children working rubbish dumps in Malaysia, and examine the mechanism by which plastics enter the oceans, and where they end up.


Image rights: Claire Fackler / NOAA

Facts and Figures ABout Ocean Plastic

Presented below in no particular order are some of the facts and figures presented in the film:


  • In the last ten years we have put more plastic in the ocean than the previous 100 years.

  • Every Year the USA uses 63 Billion gallons of oil to make plastic bottles.

  • In USA 2 Million tons of plastic bottles are sent to landfill every year.

  • 80% of Ocean Plastic Comes from the land.

  • 20% of Ocean Plastic Sinks (rather then floats)

  • In some parts of the ocean the Plankton to Plastic ratio is 1:2 (twice as much plastic than plankton).

  • There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans.

  • Porous surfaces on plastics attract toxic chemicals, which increases damage to organisms when the plastic is swallows.

  • Plastics are broken down by UV (Sun), Wave Action, and Salt (Chemical Action)

  • Toxins from plastic build up in fat and muscle tissue of organisms.

  • Main toxin family in ocean plastic is Phthalates, these are endocrine disruptors, and can cause asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity in humans . . . similarly nasty things in animals.

  • Majority of Ocean Plastics come from 6 countries.

  • Nurdles are the small beads of virgin (and sometimes recycled polymer) that are used as a raw material by plastic item manufacturers.

  • 2.6 Billion Humans rely on the ocean for primary source of protein.

  • Some marine birds have eaten so much plastic, it totals 15% of their body weight. That is same as an adult eating 12 pizzas.

  • A bird's stomach, can contains 100's of pieces of plastic. A Shearwater (Bird) cut open in the film contains 220 pieces of plastic.

  • Tuvalu Island Nation, has a big plastic problem.

  • Rwanda have banned use of plastic bags.