THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Billions of tons of plastic waste are piling up and there’s no end in sight


By AFP

Monday 14 August 2017, 01:00PM


The world has a plastic problem. More than 8.3 billion metric tons of it have been produced on Earth, with most dumped into landfills or the oceans, US researchers reported recently.

The report in the journal Science Advances is described as “the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics,” and warns that an even more dire scenario lies ahead.

At the current pace, 12bn metric tons of plastic waste will be discarded in landfills or in the environment by 2050.

This amount is about 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building in New York City.

“Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said Jenna Jambeck, study co-author and associate professor of engineering at the University of Georgia.

“Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices.”

Researchers compiled their data from production statistics for resins, fibres and additives from a variety of industry sources.

The report found that as of 2015, nearly 6.3bn metric tons of plastic waste was generated on our planet.

A total of 79% of that plastic waste accumulated in landfills or the environment, including the oceans.

Despite widespread efforts toward re-usability, only 9% was recycled. Another 12% was incinerated, a process that can also be harmful to the environment.

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET

Recycling is not much help when it comes to plastics, because they do not dissolve in the environment. None of the plastics in widespread use are biodegradable.

Just over two tons of plastics were produced globally in 1950, when mass manufacturing of the durable material began, said the report.

By 2015, that number skyrocketed to over 440 million tons, outpacing most other man-made materials, with the exception of steel and cement.

About half of the total amount of plastics produced from 1950 to 2015 has been made in just the past 13 years.

While steel and cement are used for years, most plastic is used in packaging – think plastic water bottles or snack food packaging that are used once and discarded.

“Roughly half of all the steel we make goes into construction, so it will have decades of use – plastic is the opposite,” said Roland Geyer, lead author of the paper and associate professor in University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

“Half of all plastics become waste after four or fewer years of use.”

The share of plastics in municipal solid waste increased from less than 1% in 1960 to more than 10% by 2005 in middle- and high-income countries.

Plastic debris can now be found in oceans all over the world. The same team of researchers reported in 2015 eight million metric tons of plastic entered the oceans in 2010.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Christy Sweet | 15 August 2017 - 11:32:11

\"Recycling is not much help when it comes to plastics, because they do not dissolve in the environment. None of the plastics in widespread use are biodegradable.\" Huh? Two errors- recycling is not about tossing plastics into the environment, and plastic is highly recyclable.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket pharmacists up in arms over Drugs Act

What is so puzzling about what the legislation proscribes? What is puzzling is why a military junta ...(Read More)


American tourist in ICU after Krabi rock climbing fall

As a patient (since deceased) or relative of the deceased, one would be mortified to read comments c...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: The world is watching us

If the Thai basher would only read the article, it was not Thai's worried about international pe...(Read More)


Poor service quality dogs airport ranking

Hire foreign professionals to upgrade Suvarnabhumi airport. Abroad many countries do that a few year...(Read More)


Over 1,000 arrested in Phuket ‘Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner’ clampdown

Question again: Where are these 1463 foreigners hold presently until they get deported? Not in Phuke...(Read More)


New Phuket Provincial Prison reaches half-way mark

Phuket Town prison, built for 750 prisoners. Now holding a total of 3131 prisoners! To say that the...(Read More)


Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes to the streets

I am well aware as would most intelligent people of the implications of the devotees in this festiva...(Read More)


Poor service quality dogs airport ranking

Thailand's bullheaded bureaucracies will ensure that nothing changes. As the AoT continues to m...(Read More)


Cocaine, heroin popular among specific groups in Patong, police play down claim

When a town police chief plays down a Vice Governor we face a Phuket authority struggle. And for the...(Read More)


Phuket pharmacists up in arms over Drugs Act

Well, this whole affair/plan is already off the table, but I was puzzled by the term "health p...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018