A latest research by a group of scientists who have developed a new computer model which enables them to track the flow of global plastic pollution has claimed that over the next two decades, if there is no widespread intervention, oceans and land of the world will over flow with more than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste.
The report noted that there has been a surged in production in recent decades of single-use plastic which is flowing into the oceans and filling up the land with plastic waste and is overwhelming the capacity of the world’s waste management for recycling and disposing of such plastic.
According to a new report titled “Breaking the Plastic Wave”, by 2040, there will be about 710 million metric tons of plastic being dumped into the environment even with a global effort to reduce the consumption and pollution of pollution, which in the best case scenario can only mitigate about 80 per cent of the problem.
“This scientific inquiry has for the first time given us a comprehensive insight into the staggering amounts of plastic waste that are being dumped into the world’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,” Costas Velis, a lecturer at the University of Leeds in the U.K. and an author of the report, said in a statement.
“We now have a much clearer picture of the sources of the pollution and where it eventually ends up,” Velis said.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has apparently made the issue more problematic because states and countries e reduced use of reusable products while municipalities have reduced their plastic recycling operations because of the pandemic, the report noted.
It has been projected that that there will be a rise of 40 per cent in single-use plastic in the next decade.
What has aggravated the situation even more re significant cuts in plastic prices and disruption of the global waste management systems because of the pandemic.
According to researchers, plastic waste will kill more marine life and enter the human food chain because of the rate at which it is being dumped every year into the oceans which is projected to more than double by 2040. Almost all of the aggregate plastic packaging is used only once and then those are discarded. Municipal waste from households is the biggest source of plastic pollution in the world.
The researchers working on the report have projected that even with the various governments pledging to reduce plastic waste in the next two decades there will still be extensive plastic pollution. The report noted that in that time about 133 million tons of plastic will be burned, while about 77 million tons will be dumped on land and another 29 million tons will be discarded into the oceans.
“Burning is a double-edged sword. It reduces the amount of plastic that could eventually end up in the seas and on land but it also poses many other environmental problems, including a significant contribution to global warming,” said Ed Cook, a researcher at the University of Leeds and an author of the study.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)