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World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

Recent figures from Recycle Now show that Britain bins around 16 million plastic bottles a day and If a year's worth of the UK's unrecycled plastic bottles were placed end to end, they'd reach around the world 31 times, covering just over 780,000 miles.

A team of researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Georgia, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, say that although plastic materials such as Bakelite were in use in the early 20th century, the material's popularity began to rapidly rise after World War II, making it one of the most commonly used man-made materials.

Around 4-12 million tons of plastic ends up in the sea each year.

Previous research suggests around eight million tonnes of plastic rubbish enters the world's oceans annually, causing the death of more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year. "But I do think we need to take a careful look at our use of plastics and ask if it makes sense".

The study found that in 2015, of the almost seven billion tonnes of plastic waste generated, only 9% was recycled, 12% incinerated, and 79% accumulated in landfills or the environment.

But the same properties that make plastics so useful in everyday life - such as durability - also make them hard to break down.

She added: "We know that incentives such as bottle deposit return systems significantly reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfill and beaches".

Amarnath Yatra to continue, PM Narendra Modi monitoring situation: Jitendra Singh
Other Congress members also condemned the attack. "Today is the occasion when the country needs to speak in one voice", he said, adding that the entire nation is "rising in revolt" against the attack.

Plastics will likely be a part of our lives for as long as human civilization is able to produce them, and the authors seem well aware of this, advocating instead for sensible strategies to deal with the millions of tons of plastic spilling out into the environment.

While the study is mostly an analysis of production data and disposal trends, it cautioned that little is known about the long-term impacts of plastics production growth, which it said has "substantially outpaced any other manufactured material". (The available data, they acknowledge, is limited.) While some plastic products do last decades, the biggest use of plastics is in packaging, where actual use can be measured in weeks, days, hours or even seconds.

There are some ways to mitigate the crisis, such as recycling and the use of biodegradable plastics.

"There are areas where plastics are indispensable, especially in products designed for durability", Kara Lavender Law, a professor at the Sea Education Association and co-author of the new research, said.

Landfills are full of plastics that have not been recycled. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for fourteen percent of all USA goods exports.

Amount of plastic recycled in the United States (in China, it is 25 per cent, and 30 per cent in Europe). At least until we throw it out, and then it becomes a blight on the environment. "We are increasingly smothering ecosystems in plastic and I am very anxious that there may be all kinds of unintended, adverse consequences that we will only find out about once it is too late", Geyer added.

"Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices". That tonnage figure translates to about 9.15 billion US tons, also known as short tons, in which each ton is 2,000 pounds.

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