A Catholic environmentalist is urging society to “stop treating the world’s oceans as sewers”, amid warnings that the amount of plastic ending up in them could triple by 2040.
A team of experts believe the amount of plastic in the sea will rise from 11 million tonnes a year in 2016 to 29 million tonnes in 2040 if no action is taken.
That is the equivalent of 110lb (50kg) of plastic washing into the seas for every metre of shoreline, the team’s Breaking The Wave report said.
Ellen Teague, of the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, said society “must respond, even in our own selfish interests”.
“Fish contaminated by chemicals in plastic end up in the foodchain and contaminate our food supply,” she told The Catholic Universe. “But our concern should also be for the creatures that rely on the marine environment which face ecocide because of plastic pollution.”
Mrs Teague recalled how last November, Pope Francis suggested that “sins against ecology” should be added to the teachings of the Catholic Church and ecocide should be categorised as a crime against peace.
“Consider the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, where he suggests that modern society is a ‘throwaway culture’,” she said. “Oceans full of waste are obvious signs.
“We must work towards a cleaner environment and stop treating the world’s oceans as sewers,” Mrs Teague added.
Picture: Plastic waste is shown polluting a sandy beach. (Klaus Ohlenschl�ger/DPA/PA).