Coordinated global action is needed to avoid a plastic pile up
The annual flow of plastic into the ocean could triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tonnes per year, without immediate and sustained action, according to a new study.
That is equivalent to 50 kilogram of plastic per metre of coastline worldwide, according to the study by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ.
The research team wanted to find out solutions for the burgeoning problem of plastic waste. It created a model that mapped out the entire global plastic system from production to waste and developed five scenarios to estimate reductions in plastic pollution between 2016 and 2040:
The study identified the reason behind the waste mismanagement: A gap in collection. Today, two billion people lack access to waste collection systems. By 2040, that number will double to four billion, mostly in rural areas of middle- and low-income countries.
The study also found that closing the collection gap would require connecting 500,000 people a day to a garbage system, between now and 2040.
What can be done
The report suggested eight system interventions to break the cycle of ocean plastic pollution:
The report highlighted that innovation, unprecedented and resolute action from all stakeholders was required to stop plastic pollution. It warned that delaying implementation of the system interventions from 2020 to 2025 would add 80 million metric tonnes more plastic to the ocean.
The findings of the report were published in the journal Science on 23 July, 2020.
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