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Out to Sea – an ocean of plastic

Today, 9,5 tons of plastic is produced every second and every year around 10 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean. Plastic is a practical, convenient material that has become a natural part of our daily lives – but what happens when plastic becomes waste, ends up in the ocean and is washed up on beaches? Out to Sea is an exhibition that describes the situation today, the background to the problem and what we can do about it.

23 March – 3 July 2017

Ever since mass-produced plastic products started making our lives easier, the Earth’s oceans have begun to gradually transform into a gigantic plastic soup. 80 percent of all waste that reaches the oceans comes from land. Most of the waste falls to the ocean floor, 15 percent floats around on or near the surface and a further 15 percent sooner or later gets washed up along coastlines.

Conventional plastic is not biodegradable, so these pieces get broken up into ever-smaller pieces and enter the food chain. In the end, this waste ends up on our dinner plates, with serious consequences for our health.

To deal with this enormous problem, the UN included reducing marine waste as part of Sustainable Development Goal number 14: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. It is a major challenge. Researchers have estimated that the quantity of plastic waste that goes out to sea will double within ten years unless we take serious action.

Follow the exhibition on Facebook and on the project website.

The Plastic Garbage Project has been produced by the Museum of Design Zürich in cooperation with several organizations and is partly financed by crowdsourcing.

Last updated 21 February 2024.