Now they know. By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tonnes of used plastic will need to be buried or recycled somewhere else—or not manufactured at all. That's the conclusion of a new analysis of UN global trade data by University of Georgia researchers.
Everyone's bottles, bags and food packages add up. Factories have churned out a cumulative 8.3 billion metric tonnes of new plastic as of 2017, the same Georgia team reported last year. Even 1 million metric tonnes, the scale that this material trafficks in every year, is hard to visualize in the abstract. It's 621,000 Tesla Model 3s. It's 39 million bushels of corn kernels. The world’s 700 million iPhones make up roughly a tenth of a million metric tonnes.
Nearly four-fifths of all that plastic has been thrown into landfills or the environment. A tenth of it has been burned. Several million tonnes reach oceans every year, sullying beaches and poisoning vast reaches of the northern Pacific. Just 9 per cent of the total plastic ever generated has been recycled. China took in just over half the annual total in 2016, or 7.4 million metric tonnes.
As the industry matured and the negative effects on public health and the environment became clear, China got more selective about the materials it was willing to buy. A 'Green Fence' law enacted in 2013 kept out materials mixed with food, metals or other contaminants. Exports consequently dropped off from 2012 to 2013, a trend that continued until last year, when the world's biggest buyer warned that its scrap plastic purchases would stop altogether.
Other nations, such as India, Vietnam and Malaysia, have taken in more plastic, although with an appetite smaller than China’s. Vietnam recently suspended imports as ships clogged its ports.
The world’s plastic problem has been building for decades. Since mass production began in the early 1950s, annual output has grown from about 2 million tonnes to 322 million produced in 2015, the authors said. Current production rates are exceeding our ability to dispose of the stuff effectively—and supply is expected only to grow. “Without bold new ideas and management strategies, current recycling rates will no longer be met, and ambitious goals and timelines for future recycling growth will be insurmountable,” they wrote.
Jassi-16 hours ago-Follow
dump this trash in Pakistan....their partner nation's deserves this only...
VenkatVenkat-Hyd-16 hours ago
India should be careful.... I have a feeling, now everyone who wants to dump plastic will now turn towards India. Our laws are not strict...Our agencies which check these things are lazy and way behind in terms of technology. India should impose Plastic ban as well. Otherwise all the developed nations will send their plastic, e-waste to India
Pramod Mishra-14 hours ago-Follow
By the time the world awake it is too late
5 Sakthi ChandrakasanSakthi Chandrakasan-11 hours ago-Follow
We had our own cloth bags in the olden days for buying stuff. Industrialists created a spam like carrying cloth bag is not fancy. They introduced different plastic bags saying affordable etc. Then slowly they realized and then started selling Tote Bags (which are nothing but cloth or Jute bags). Now they say stop plastic bags...and re-introduce our own traditional cloth bags...in commercial way... Wow.
Ramchandran Pudukode-Mumbai-14 hours ago-Follow
Why India still import plastic thrash when we advocate swatch Bharat and some Municipalities like Mumbai municipal Corporation are banning use of plastics. Why this double standard?
Pradip Kumar GoswamiPradip-16 hours ago-Follow
What about India? We shout plastic free zone, restriction on certain thickness of plastic bags. In India plastic lobby is so strong it is not possible to curb it. Firstly stop manufacture of thin plastic bags. Put exorbitant duty/gst on manufacture and trading. Everything will be solved. But will law makers allow it?
Sarang Nath-16 hours ago-Follow
Is there any alternate material which will affordable and recyclable has all properties of Plastic or Better? Plastic is there since 1950 then World should have found some Material which is easily recyclable and have usefulness at Par with Plastic.
Sudhansu-16 hours ago-Follow
If you do bad for others then good will not happen for you.
10 Sougata Bhattacharya
Sougata Bhattacharya-13 hours ago-Follow
There are 8 lifeless planets in our galaxy & countless moons circling them, y not use one of them as a dumping ground for all these garbage & save Mother earth
Skrishna-14 hours ago-Follow
We have at least several thousands of Scientists both pure and theoretical as well as applied sciences in statewide and research centers.. Give them this problem to tackle in whatever way they can. Govt and multimillionaire donors can announce a huge reward for the most practical inventions. Let it be the theme of Scientific Research for the next two decades at least. Let there be a competition for our Scientists and Research Institutes. Where there is a will there is a way. At least we will test this truism.
only facts-15 hours ago-Follow
When the PVC revolution took off in the late 80s,none saw the dangers of this but kept harping about how it had made things easy for living.The result is the world is left with Millions of tonnes of plastic trash.With water bodies polluted as never before and falling water tables,what we preside over is a disaster called Plastic
Arabinda Datta-SURI, WEST BENGAL-16 hours ago-Follow
If all people from this world mentally and physically decides that they will discard uses of all type of plastic materials only then we can divorce plastic.
Swatant Shakti-16 hours ago-Follow
Building opportunities for recycling and waste to energy plants!
15 Rishi Kumar
Rishi-Patna-12 hours ago-Follow
people are commenting without reading article China processed wastes of western countries not it don't want there rubbish
Gentleman-13 hours ago-Follow
that is huge and hope the world will find a solution easily.
Rishabh-14 hours ago-Follow
Use of plastic must be brought under control
Balachandramenon Vengasserry-Alappuzha-15 hours ago-Follow
This is why Chinese are capturing islands after islands in South-China Sea braving opposition from US & allies.
ekdesi-USA-16 hours ago-Follow
China recycled and dumped part of that trash all over the world in the form of low quality products.
20 Sanjoy Hawladar
sanjoy-16 hours ago-Follow
India should stop using plastic.
Vinod-16 hours ago-Follow
Jut two Feku and taklooooo produce around 222 to 333 Million tons of trash everyday in our country. dont understand why china is so worried abt just 111?.
Dharmendra Kumar-California-16 hours ago-Follow
In my City San Diego, California you got to pay for a bag when you buy grocery or veg etc or bring your own Bag ( Thala) - the use of plastic bags has come down to just 1% now every one is cautious & very cooperative. Try it in your City.
Roushon S-16 hours ago-Follow
one can melt plastic and make bricks out of it....make road out of it....we just need industries to do this....
Ramesh-16 hours ago-Follow
Right this year on environmental day Modi has stressed on plastic recycling with less use of plastic n replacing with paper bags.
Subbu India-Bengal-16 hours ago-Follow
Thw way this trash level is increasing soon it will become 120 Million tons.
Sriram Balu-Chennai-16 hours ago-Follow
BJP will solve this issue. Vote for BJP only.
Pradip-5 hours ago-Follow
It has become one of the most crucial problem for all over the world.R&D is required on priority basis for waste management. Re cycling of plastic waste and reduction of production of plastic bags is a need of hour Government ,public and Jo's must come together to solve the problem.
AnonymousAnonymous-bangalore-6 hours ago-Follow
so they will export plastic make product but refuse to take it back
ashis-India-13 hours ago-Follow
This is the cost of development! And we are going the tread along the path of China!! Let us demand from our government that plastic should not be on our diet.