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Report finds US as biggest plastic polluter in the world; read how

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According to a new report submitted to the federal government on Wednesday, the United States is by far the largest contributor to global plastic waste, calling for a national strategy to address the expanding crisis.

What does the data shows

According to the data, the United States produced about 42 million metric tonnes (MMT) of plastic waste in 2016, more than twice as much as China and more than the European Union countries combined.

Every American generates 130 kilogrammes (286 pounds) of plastic waste each year on average, with South Korea coming in second with 88 kilogrammes.

“Reckoning with the United States’ Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste”

The report, titled “Reckoning with the United States’ Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste,” was required by Congress as part of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, which was passed into law in December 2020.

report on waste

“The success of the 20th century miracle invention of plastics has also produced a global scale deluge of plastic waste seemingly everywhere we look,” wrote Margaret Spring, who chaired the report’s expert group.

The report

According to the report, global plastic output increased 20-fold from 20 million metric tonnes in 1966 to 381 MMT in 2015, a 20-fold rise in half a century.

Initially, ocean debris was mostly focused on ship and marine-based sources, but it is now understood that practically any plastic on land has the ability to reach the oceans via rivers and streams, according to the report.

Nearly a thousand species of marine life have been found to be vulnerable to plastic entanglement or swallowing microplastics, which eventually make their way back to humans through the food web.

According to the report, an estimated 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enters the world each year, “the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute.”

According to the report, the amount of plastics thrown into the ocean might reach 53 MMT per year by 2030, which is approximately half of the total weight of fish caught in the ocean each year.

Part of the explanation is that, while the amount of plastic waste generated in municipal solid waste has increased dramatically, particularly after 1980, recycling has not kept pace, resulting in an increasing amount of plastic ending up in landfills.

Time to take action

The research recommended a number of solutions to the situation, including limiting virgin plastic manufacture.

“This is the most comprehensive and damning report on plastic pollution ever published,” said Judith Enk, president of the nonprofit Beyond Plastics.

waste report The North-Eastern Chronicle

“It is a code red for plastics in the ocean and documents how litter cleanups are not going to save the ocean,” she continued, emphasising the need of policymakers and business leaders reading the report and take action.



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