Leakage of microplastics into oceans and land

EA has been at the forefront of pioneering research in quantifying microplastic leakage, with more than 15 reference publications on the topic. Given the numerous reports available, many containing conflicting figures, this report aims to present the most current and accurate data.

This report was produced with the intention of offering an up-to-date version of the numbers, utilizing EA’s calculations and benchmarking against existing reports.


This report will undergo regular updates to align with evolving science and provide the latest insights.


The current version, as of 2023, serves as a comprehensive snapshot of EA’s findings in the ongoing effort to address and understand microplastic leakage. The report focuses its attention on both leakage into the oceans and onto land, providing an overview of the global quantification of microplastic leakage.

Key Highlights:

  • Every year, more than 3.8 million tonnes (Mt) of microplastics are leaked into the oceans, with paints, pellets, and tyres accounting for more than 93% of this leakage.
  • Similarly, over 8.9 million tonnes (Mt) of microplastics are leaked into the land annually, with paints, pellets, and tyres comprising more than 99% of this total.



EA – Earth Action

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