Millions of tons of plastic are produced each year – from yogurt jars to water bottles, cosmetics packs and baby toys. Most of it goes to waste, polluting our oceans and endangering wildlife.
But which country is really the worst plastic garbage sinner? According to a recent study, this is America!
In total, the United States produced about 42 million tons of plastic waste in 2016 – twice as much as China and more than any other country in the European Union, the authors of the expert report submitted to the US government write. Wednesday.
Every American citizen produces 130 kg of plastic waste per year
According to the report, each U.S. citizen generates an average of 130 kilograms of plastic waste per year, followed by South Korea generating 88 kilograms of plastic waste per year. “The success of the miraculous invention of plastic in the 20th century led to a global flood of plastic waste,” said Margaret Spring, president of the American Congress of Experts.
Thus, global plastic production increased from 20 million tonnes in 1966 to 381 million tonnes in 2015 – 20 times in half a century.
Thus, about 8 million tons of plastic waste is added to the environment each year. This is equivalent to a garbage truck dropping its load into the sea every minute. At current rates, the amount of plastic in the ocean will reach 53 million tons per year by 2030, which is about half the total weight of fish caught annually from the ocean. One reason for this is the recycling of plastics into plastic production.
What can be done
The report proposes a number of measures to address the crisis. It is very important to produce less fresh plastic. Other proposed measures include the use of materials that are easily decomposed and recycled rapidly, reducing disposable plastics and improved waste management, for example with techniques for removing microplastics from wastewater.
“This is the most comprehensive and worst report ever made on plastic pollution,” said Judith Enk, president of Beyond Plastics. He said collecting garbage in the sea would not save the sea. Policymakers need to act urgently.