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The report found that the United States is the largest plastic pollutant in the world

The United States is the world’s largest contributor to plastic waste, according to a new report submitted to the federal government on Wednesday calling for a national strategy to tackle the growing crisis.

Overall, the United States contributed approximately 42 million metric tons (MMT) to plastic waste in 2016, according to analysis. This is more than twice that of China and more than twice the sum of the countries of the European Union.

On average, all Americans produce 130 kilograms (286 pounds) of plastic waste per year, followed by the United Kingdom at 99 kilograms per person per year and South Korea at 88 kilograms per year.

read: UK government calls for a ban on disposable plastic plates and cutlery

The report, entitled “Rethinking the United States’ Role in the World’s Marine Plastic Waste,” was mandated by Congress as part of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, which became law in December 2020.

Margaret Spring, Chief Scientific Officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who chaired the expert committee that compiled the report, said:

She says that global plastic waste affects inland and coastal communities, polluted rivers, lakes and beaches, puts financial strains on communities, puts wildlife at risk, and humans for food. He added that it is an “environmental and social crisis” that results in polluted water that depends on.

According to the report, global plastic production increased from 20 million metric tons in 1966 to 381 MMT in 2015, a 20-fold increase in half a century.

Initially, the focus on marine waste was focused solely on ships and marine-based sources, but now almost all plastics on land can reach the ocean via rivers and streams. Is known.

Studies show that nearly 1000 species of marine life are susceptible to plastic entanglement and microplastic ingestion, which returns to humans through the food network.

According to the report, an estimated 8 MMT of plastic waste flows into the world each year, “similar to dumping a plastic waste garbage truck into the ocean every minute.”

At current rates, the amount of plastic discharged into the ocean could reach 53 MMT per year by 2030, which is about half the total weight of fish caught from the ocean per year.

read: Plastics that exceed coal’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030: Report

Part of the reason is that while the generation of plastic waste in urban solid waste has exploded, especially since 1980, the scale of recycling has not been maintained and plastic to landfills. The inflow is increasing more and more.

The report provided several steps to deal with the crisis. The first is to reduce the production of unused plastic, for example by setting a national cap.

Reduce disposable plastic

Other proposed actions include improved waste management such as the use of materials that deteriorate more quickly and are easier to recycle, the reduction of certain disposable plastics, and the technology to remove microplastics from wastewater. It will be.

While improving waste recovery technology can block plastic in waterways, it is also a priority to dispose of plastic directly into the ocean itself.

Data collection is also an important priority, the report adds, calling for the United States to establish a tracking and monitoring system to identify waste sources and hotspots.

The authors called for a national strategy to be developed by the end of 2022.

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

“This is the ocean plastic code red, documenting that garbage cleanup can’t save the ocean,” she continues, with policy makers and business leaders reading the report and taking action. He added that there is an urgent need.

“We’re no longer pointing,” said Christie Levitt, director of plastics campaigns at Oceana. “The United States’ role in the plastic pollution crisis, one of the greatest environmental threats our oceans and the planet face today. It cannot be ignored. “

The report found that the United States is the largest plastic pollutant in the world

Source link The report found that the United States is the largest plastic pollutant in the world

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