Plastic: 104 million tons will be lost by 2030 without a change of course

Plastic: 104 million tons will be lost by 2030 without a change of course

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L'plastic pollution it has turned into a complex emergency for nature, society and the global economy. It is estimated that, without a decisive change of course, 104 million tons of this material could be lost in nature by 2030. With disastrous consequences for ecosystems, primarily the oceans.

To sound the alarm is the WWF in its new report "Responsibility and reporting", in which the environmental organization calls for a binding global treaty to stop plastic contamination before it is too late.

The numbers of plastic

The figures quoted in the report are impressive. Since 2000, quantities of plastic have been produced in the world equal to the sum of all the quantities of previous years. Virgin plastics production has increased 200-fold since 1950, with an annual growth rate of 4% through 2000. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, production reached 396 million tonnes. , which is equivalent to 53 kg for each person on the globe. These quantities in 2016 alone caused emissions of about 2 billion tons of CO2, 6% of the total. According to forecasts, the production of the material could further increase by 40% by 2030.

A prospect that appears threatening, if we consider how bad waste management has caused one third of plastic waste, equal to 100 million tons, to be dispersed in nature, causing pollution of soil, fresh water and marine ones.

The impacts of plastic pollution

As specified in the report, "37% of plastic waste is currently unmanaged or poorly managed, which increases the risk of it becoming a source of environmental pollution". The consequences are innumerable. Plastic damages ecosystems, kills wildlife and contributes to climate change. Every year, CO2 emissions also grow due to the production and incineration of this material.

The damage caused to the environment has direct consequences on the economy, negatively impacting fishing, maritime trade and tourism. To these implications are added the repercussions on health. Humans and animal species ingest increasing amounts of nano-plastics through food and drinking water, with effects not yet fully known. Numerous communities around the world are also affected by the toxic substances released by'Outdoor incineration of plastic or from illegal waste disposal.

The appeal of the WWF

On the basis of the results of the study, WWF launches an appeal, urging governments, industries and citizens to urgently and with a shared approach plastic problem. Despite the current projections on the dissemination of the material show that the crisis will continue to worsen, the environmental association maintains that it is possible to stop it, following a unitary and shared approach. According to the WWF, the turning point is precisely represented by a coordinated and timely action which, through the assumption of responsibility by each person involved, contrasts the uncontrolled increase of plastic waste.

Only the ban on single-use plastics, for example, has the potential to reduce demand for plastics by 40% by 2030. Eliminating throwaway would be enough to decrease the plastic load in waste by 188 million tonnes, 57% less than the previous year. 'current. The association also suggests that to achieve the scenario
plastic-free nature"It is necessary to develop strategies and practices aimed at recycling 60% of plastic, or approximately 113 million tons.

From the WWF Report "Responsibility and reporting"

Equally essential appears to be the selection of waste by types of plastic which, combined with the design of easily reusable products, would create a substantial volume of plastic high quality, which would support increased recycling capacity. It would not only benefit the environment, but the economy itself: proper waste management, recycling and regeneration of plastic could in fact create over a million new jobs.

Video: Keynote: Achieving the Water, Ocean and Related Sustainable Development Goals Andrew Hudson, UNDP (June 2022).