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MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH?

25-01-2016
by 
in 

According to a new report by the World Economic Fourm (WEF), fish are in trouble.

Amongst other bad news such as the progress of South Africa ban lift on domestic rhino horn trades, the report reviled that almost one third of all plastics that are produced will end up in the ocean, where it will be eaten by wildlife or accumulate.

The report was put together after analysing around 200 studies and talking to 180 experts, which is going to be used as a guide for discussions moving forward.

Although the cut on plastic bags and move to reusable Tupperware has made some progress, our plastic usage is still on the rise, and at this time we are making more 20 times more plastic than we have in the last 50 years. 

"By 2050, we’ll be making more than three times as much plastic stuff as we did in 2014," Sarah Kaplan writes for The Washington Post.

95 percent of plastic is thrown out after a single use. Although 14 percent of the waste is recycled, the rest ends up in landfill or on the streets, before making its way into our oceans, which equates to 8 million tonnes of plastic each year.

"If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two [truck-fulls] per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050," the report said.

"In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish."

And it's not just the oceans that are suffering, as Kaplan reports:

"Plastic production accounts for 6 percent of global oil consumption (a number that will hit 20 percent in 2050) and 1 percent of the global carbon budget (the maximum amount of emissions the world can produce to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius)."

All of this is an issue that the WEF is aiming to tackle, although this is no easy task, they are calling for action.

"To move from insight to large-scale action, it is clear that no one actor can work on this alone," said Dominic Waughray from the WEF.

"The public, private sector and civil society all need to mobilise to capture the opportunity of the new circular plastics economy."

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