Research presented to the US government shows that the United States produced some 42 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2016. This is more than twice as much as China and more than all countries in the European Union put together, estimates the scientists.
Flood of waste
Principal researcher Margaret Spring argues that plastic, once a “miracle invention”, is now “seemingly everywhere we look”, resulting in a deluge of trash. In addition to an environmental crisis, she says, it also creates a social crisis, as many inland and coastal communities are affected by the pollution of rivers, lakes and beaches.
Researchers claim that a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the ocean every minute, so to speak. If the world continues at this rate, 53 million tonnes of plastic will be dumped into the ocean each year by 2030. That’s about half the weight of all fish caught in the ocean each year.
Researchers are calling on the US government to do something to reduce the amount of plastic waste. This can be done, for example, by limiting the production of plastic or by using more recyclable materials.
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