Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:14
Study Warns: 1.3 Billion Tonnes of Plastic to Pollute Environment by 2040
TEHRAN (FNA)- With its production continuing to increase at an exponential rate, our problem with plastic pollution is showing no sign of slowing down. A new study mapping mapping the movement of plastic waste has outlined just how drastic the situation might become, projecting that 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic will be dumped on land and in the oceans by 2040 unless some significant steps are taken to address the trend.

For use in everything from toothbrushes to shopping bags, we produce around 300 million tonnes of plastic globally each year, only around 10 percent of which is recycled. Millions of tonnes of that wash into the oceans and breaks down into small, difficult-to-track fragments, while much of it heads to landfill or simply becomes litter.

Some experts expect our plastic production to double as often as every 11 years, and it follows that greater amounts of this material will place ever greater strain on the environment. A team made up of 17 global experts and led by the University of Leeds’ Costas Velis created a computer model of what happens when all this plastic waste is mismanaged.

This involved mapping out the effects of six scenarios in which we intervene in different ways, including, for example, reducing the amount of plastic being produced, using alternative materials, scaling up recycling capacity, and boosting plastic collection systems. This was compared to a “business as usual” model as a baseline.

According to the analysis, the world will see 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic dumped on land and in the oceans between 2016 and 2040, under the business as usual scenario. Even with what the researchers describe as immediate and concerted efforts, that figure would only be reduced to 710 million tonnes of plastic waste.

"Unless the world acts, we estimate more than 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic pollution will end up on land or in water bodies by 2040,” says Velis. “Enormous as that figure is, it could be even bigger if it were not for the fact that a vast quantity of waste is openly burned – but that burning also carries a major environmental cost.”

That environmental cost comes in the form of toxic fumes arising from openly burned plastics, as opposed to those burned in facilities.

"Modern incinerators with air pollution control technology, emit very few hazardous substances,” says study author Ed Cook, from the University of Leeds. “But with open burning, the combustion is often incomplete, and all sorts of potentially toxic emissions are released, which can result in a range of negative health outcomes. Those obnoxious substances are being breathed in by people who are working with waste and also in the communities that live nearby. Burning is a double-edged sword. It reduces the amount of plastic that could eventually end up in the seas and on land but it also poses many other environmental problems, including a significant contribution to global warming."

The scientists lay out a number of strategies through which humanity can tackle this problem, starting with improving waste collection services. With around two billion people in the world without access to such services, a number that is expected to balloon to four billion people by 2040, giving these people a proper means to dispose of their plastics could put a huge dent in the problem.

“In the absence of collection services, people have to make difficult choices about how to manage the waste themselves by openly burning it, dumping it on land, or putting it directly into rivers and coastal waters,” says Velis. “Our modeling shows that every additional tonne of plastic collected reduces pollution of the aquatic environment by 0.18 tonnes. Waste collection is indeed the most effective way to prevent pollution. So at the heart of any effective solution should lie the provision of solid waste management services and infrastructure to all, a key target of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11."

Other tactics put forward by the team include addressing growth in plastic production and consumption, substituting plastics for paper and compostable materials, and giving more emphasis to recycling when designing products and packaging from the outset.

"The interventions explored here are all achievable using existing and already mature technologies,” says Cook. “The suite of approaches we've proposed is already within our capability – but it requires the political, societal and corporate will in order to achieve it. There is not one single solution. We can't simply say we're going to recycle everything or use less material, we need to take a holistic approach and look at the whole system.”





Bottom top
US: Dozens Arrested at NYC Protest Against Alleged Unwanted Hysterectomies at ICE Facility

TEHRAN (FNA)- Dozens of protesters were detained during a march in New York City against unwanted hysterectomies of immigrant women at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia, after whistleblower complaints from one of the nurses at the center. [VIDEO]
COVID-19 Infections on Rise in Gaza

TEHRAN (FNA)- Covid-19 infected cases in the Gaza Strip has jumped over two thousands. The considerable spike comes within two weeks alone. This comes as the impoverished enclave is struggling with Israeli blockade hampering its efforts to cope with the pandemic. [VIDEO]
UAE, Bahrain, Israel Normalization: Rally Supporting Palestine Held in Morocco

TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of demonstrators on Friday voiced their solidarity with the Palestinian people and protested against the normalization agreements between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel. [PHOTOS]
Coronavirus Death Toll Approaching 1 Million Worldwide

TEHRAN (FNA)- The number of infections with the novel coronavirus has surpassed 30.7 million worldwide with the deaths approaching 1million and recoveries over 22.3 million. [PHOTOS]
No Peace in Afghanistan With US Occupation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Experience tells us that the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha will once again go nowhere as the United States and its duped allies continue to occupy Afghanistan.
Iran, OPEC Discuss Mutual Cooperation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharavand and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo in a meeting in Vienna on Saturday reviewed bilateral relations in the field of energy.
AEOI Chief: No More Inspections of Iranian Sites Requested by IAEA

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Saturday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has asked for no more inspection of the country’s sites after the two sides agreed on two cases of inspection in August.
16 Arrested as Mounted Police Chase People Protesting Melbourne’s Controversial Lockdown Measures

TEHRAN (FNA)- A protest against controversial lockdown measures in the Australian city of Melbourne descended into chaos on Saturday as police on horseback chased after demonstrators, arresting 16 and fining over 20 others.
Documents Show US Officials Baselessly Linked 'Antifa' to Arson Before Wildfires

TEHRAN (FNA)- In recent days, law enforcement agencies from the FBI to county sheriffs have tried in vain to debunk baseless conspiracy theories blaming “antifa arsonists” for starting the devastating wildfires raging in the Western US.
Trump Hints He Could Fire FBI Director over Antifa Disagreement

TEHRAN (FNA)- US President Donald Trump dropped his strongest hint yet that he could replace his own FBI director in their continued Antifa disagreement.
Protesters March Against COVID-19 Measures in London

TEHRAN (FNA)- COVID-19 sceptics gathered to demonstrate against imposed coronavirus measures in London, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that the United Kingdom is currently experiencing the start of the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave.
Taiwan Scrambles Warplanes as China Holds Aerial Drills Nearby

TEHRAN (FNA)- Taiwan's air force scrambled its jet fighters for a second consecutive day as numerous Chinese warplanes crossed the sensitive midline of the Taiwan Strait, with Taipei’s officials urging Beijing to "pull back from the edge".
Top Human Rights Lawyer Quits UK Envoy Role over 'Lamentable' Brexit Bill

TEHRAN (FNA)- Amal Clooney, the high-profile human rights lawyer, resigned from her position as the UK’s special envoy on media freedom in protest at the government’s intention to breach international law through the internal market bill.
Pentagon Rewriting Pandemic Playbook After Study Faults COVID-19 Response

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Pentagon is in the early stages of rewriting its pandemic playbook after an internal review found failings in the department's initial response to COVID-19, according to defense officials and documents viewed by POLITICO.
Iranian Leader’s Top Aide: N. Deal No More Creditable

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader’s top advisor for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said on Saturday that the nuclear deal has been violated both by the US and Europe and enjoys no creditability anymore.