In 2015, the world created 448 million tons of plastic — more than twice as much as made in 1998
Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, March 12, 2015. Annually at the dump about 30,000 tones of waste and debris is processed and sorted for recycling or disposal, according to a representatives of the enterprise. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits), photo: AP/Sergei Grits
19 of July 2017 14:49:18
WASHINGTON – Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than two miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.Plastics don't break down like other man-made materials, so three-quarters of the stuff ends up as waste in landfills, littered on land and floating in oceans, lakes and rivers, according to the research reported in Wednesday's journal Science Advances ."At the current rate, we are really heading toward a plastic planet," said study lead author Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "It is something we need to pay attention to."
About 35 percent of the plastic made is for packaging, like water bottles. Geyer said his figures are higher than other calculations because he includes plastics material woven into fibers like polyester clothing, including microfiber material.An official of a U.S. trade group said the plastics industry recognizes the problem and is working to increase recycling and reduce waste."Plastics are used because they are efficient, they are cost effective and they do their jobs," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council , an industry association that represents manufacturers. "And if we didn't have them, the impact on the environment would be worse."Using alternatives to plastics for packaging and consumer goods such as glass, paper or aluminum requires more energy, Russell said.The world still makes more concrete and steel than plastic, but the big difference is that they stay longer in buildings and cars and degrade better than plastic, Geyer said. Except for what is burned, "all the plastics that we made since 1950 are still with us," he said."The fact that it becomes waste so quickly and that it's persistent is why it's piling up in the environment," said Chelsea Rochman, a professor of ecology at the University of Toronto. She wasn't part of the study but like other outside experts praised it for thoroughness and accuracy."At some point we will run out of room to put it," she said in an email. "Some may argue we already have and now it's found in every nook and cranny of our oceans."Plastic waste in water has been shown to harm more than 600 species of marine life, said Nancy Wallace, marine debris program director for the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Whales, sea turtles, dolphins, fish and sea birds are hurt or killed, she said."It's a huge amount of material that we're not doing anything about," Wallace said. "We're finding plastics everywhere."
8.3 billion tonnes of plastics produced since 1950, and nearly 80% are sitting in landfills or the environment. https://t.co/tEEDqXzJxm— Kara Lavender Law (@klavlaw) 19 de julio de 2017