Globally, more than 240 million tons of plastics end up at sea. These become sources of microplastics, which are pieces of plastics with sizes ranging from 20-5000 Âµm. Microplastics when filtered and ingested by marine animals could lead to health deterioration and even death (Browne et al. 2010).
Large amounts of plastics in the oceans result from a failure and gap in the management of plastic waste (UNEP 2016). In the Philippines, where solid waste management is a huge problem, nearly 35,580 tons of garbage are generated daily. About 15-60% of these wastes are improperly disposed of through burning and dumping in the oceans and pen areas (Castillo and Otoma 2013). Most of the waste generated is comprised of organic waste, plastic, and paper (Jain et al. 2017).
Moreover, plastic waste is exacerbated by the booming ecotourism industry in many coastal areas of the country. More solid wastes are generated as a result of tourist influx and increased human activities. Ferry boats and ships significantly contribute to marine littering, contributing an estimated 70,000 tons per year (Sunlu 2003). The eventual physical damage that this causes to the coastal and ocean waters leads to loss in biological diversity. Plastic pollution impacts sensitive habitats of commercially-valuable seafood species and the welfare and conservation of vulnerable and endangered species (UNEP 2016).
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