In 60 years, humans have created 8.3 billion tons of plastic

Pollution plastique

Nowadays, the human beings have to live alongside plastic pollution. Since 1950, 8.3 billion tons of plastics have been created, and the half of it was during the last 13 years. The major part of  plastic production finds itself neglected: waste mismanagement. This is causing significant damages.

Plastic production from 1950 to 2017

A publication in the scientific journal Science Advances reveals that, from 1950 to 2017, 8.3 billion tons of plastic were created. Only 2 million tons were produced in 1950 and not less than 400 millionin 2015. This huge attraction for plastic leads to a huge amount of pollution. Approximatively 6.3 billion tons of waste are  produced out of it. According to the scientific report, 79% of those was thrown away into a landfill site or in the environment. Only 9% of the waste derived from plastics is recycled and the rest is incinerated.

Plastic is now the third most produced material by humans, after steel and cement. The difference between those materials is that we can use steel and cement for many years, while plastic, has a life expectancy of few weeks or few years. This is the reason why plastic pollution is a real curse.

Plastic pollution engendered by this production

As a result of this worrying pollution, the wildlife has to pay a heavy price. It concerns both animals and their place of living. A huge part of plastic waste ends up in oceans. Because of this, 660 marine animal species are endangered.

For instance, in March 2012, a washed up sperm wale in Andalusia has been found with 17 kilos of plastic in it’s stomach. Another recent study estimated that 9 out of 10 of the world’s seabirds now have pieces of plastic in their guts. Some albatross and shearwater have been found to have nearly 3,000 pieces of plastic, up to 8 kg, in their stomachs.

Natural areas neither are spared: in April 2017, an expedition was sent on Mount Everest in order to clean it. More than 5 tons of waste were recovered, most of them were made of plastic. Also Henderson Island, one of the most isolated place in the world, has its beach covered with plastic waste.

To avoid spreading this phenomenon everywhere on Earth, one of the best solutions is to recycle the plasti. Since 1980, 600 million tons of plastic have already been recycled. We also need to reduce global plastic production in order to tackle the core of the problem.

The future of plastic production

According to the scientific publication, the quantity of plastic produced until 2050 will reach 34 billion tons. Thus, 12 billion tons of plastic waste would be in landfill sites or in natural environment despite the increasing share of recycling.

There is a serious risk to come for the oceans. A report from Dame Ellen’s fondation warns against ocean’s pollution and has calculated that, in 2050, plastic will weigh heavier than fish in the ocean.

However, humans are aware of the danger. Thanks to new legislations, technologies behaviours, plastic pollution could be contained and reduced.

Edouard Lotz


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The Daily Telegraph

The Independent


PBS NewsHour

Science Advances

Le Monde


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