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.

QSI 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
Tout dumps slow loris with tourist, evades arrest at Kata Beach

It's not the Police's job you clown. How do you know how the operation was conducted?...(Read More)


Layan lockout: Public access denied amid Supreme Court wrangle for B10bn beachfront land

Best get yourself some legal advice if you don't understand something or won't accept anythi...(Read More)


Six houses destroyed by fire

Unless you haven't worked it out, prioritising when poor means staying alive. How do you know t...(Read More)


Still no charges for taxi driver who wiped out six vehicles, killed motorcyclist

What about the "HiSo's"or influential people as one commentator suggests in another po...(Read More)


Still no charges over deadly collision in Chalong that killed two tourists

What this article is about is a motor accident. Get with the program. Even Australia as are many oth...(Read More)


Still no charges for taxi driver who wiped out six vehicles, killed motorcyclist

Inhibitors to Thai Justice 101: “I have many things to do. Last month, I had an official meeting i...(Read More)


Still no charges for taxi driver who wiped out six vehicles, killed motorcyclist

As with every other law in Phuket (parking, speeding etc).... one rule for taxis and one rule for th...(Read More)


Saudi teen runaway leaves for Canada

A happy ending, let us hope she isn't a victim of some more patriarchal BS in way of "honor...(Read More)


Local residents angered over open sewer stench

Where's all the sewage from the recent 10000 + Laguna area condos going? ( I'd be one P O...(Read More)


Layan lockout: Public access denied amid Supreme Court wrangle for B10bn beachfront land

"Well no," well yes, it seems have a problem, first stating incorrectly sect 1336, now ign...(Read More)