Friday 2 June 2023

UN says a toxic plastic tidal wave is on its way

UN says a toxic plastic tidal wave is on its way

“Plastic production has increased exponentially over recent decades and today the world is generating 400 million tonnes of plastic waste yearly.”

That’s according to UN Rapporteur for Environment, David R. Boyd, who has warned that a “toxic tidal wave” of plastic is threatening the life of the planet and mankind.

A study from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed that not only do plastics impact health through water and food pollution, they are also almost exclusively made from fossil fuels – adding further pollution for people and the Earth to deal with.

In terms of the lifecycle of plastics, 85% also end up in landfill or disposed as litter – meaning they are not reused and create further pollution.

“Plastic, microplastic and the hazardous substances they contain can be found in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe,” Mr Boyd added.

Those living next to open-pit mines, petroleum refineries, steel plants and coal power stations are those that are the most impacted by the plastic tidal wave, the UNEP stresses.

In explaining the impact that plastic pollution has had on climate change, Mr Boyd explained: “Plastic particles found in oceans limit the ability of marine ecosystems to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”

By 2040, the UNEP estimates that there will be up to 37 million tonnes of plastic waste entering the ocean each year if action is not taken.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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