General, Research, Technology

How much plastic waste will there be on Earth in 2040?

Regular readers of our site already know thatone of the main problems of mankind now is the pollution of the planet with plastic waste. Bottles, food packages, bags and other garbage filled not only the streets of cities, but also occupied the depths of the oceans. This was not always the case because the plastics industry did not begin to develop until the 1950s. Scientists estimate that since then, humanity has produced an estimated 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste and the amount of waste continues to grow. The discarded debris does not disappear anywhere, because it takes about a thousand years for plastic to decompose. If humanity does not cut down on plastic production and switch to more sustainable materials, we will literally be bogged down in trash. This was once again proven by British scientists - they calculated how many tons of plastic humanity will produce by 2040. It turned out to be a very frightening number.

Bad news - we have ruined our future with plastic production

The future of humanity

The scientific work carried out was described inBBC News. As part of the study, scientists from the University of Leeds quantified the level of current plastic pollution. To do this, they found out how much plastic is produced, used and thrown away in different parts of our planet. They did not share the exact numbers, but they estimated how much the amount of discarded garbage will increase over the next 20 years. So, if humanity does not take measures to reduce plastic waste, our planet will be polluted with 1.3 billion tons of garbage.

To make it clear to us how large this mass is, the researchers gave an example:

1.3 billion tons Is like three million blue whales.

According to one of the authors of the scientific workCostas Velis, they were the first to predict the impact of plastic waste on our planet in the next 20 years. Even for them it is difficult to imagine how much it is - 1.3 billion tons of garbage. In their opinion, if you spread all this rubbish on a flat surface, it will occupy an area of ​​1.5 times the size of Great Britain with an area of ​​242,495 square kilometers.

Humanity is literally burying the planet under tons of plastic trash

Garbage in the ocean

It is noteworthy that about 600 million tonsgarbage will be at the bottom of the seas of the oceans. Many inhabitants of the world's oceans are already severely affected by plastic waste. For example, I already wrote once that plastic debris in large quantities enters the organisms of turtles. Reptiles eat this rubbish voluntarily, but by mistake. The fact is that once it gets into the water, the garbage takes on the smell of algae and the turtles eat it, mistaking it for food. This has been proven in an experiment, which you can read about in this material.

See also: A new type of plastic decomposes in just 4 years

How to save the world?

According to Winnie Lau of PewCharitable Trusts, which sponsored scientific research, can save the future of humanity by taking a few steps to reduce the amount of plastic.

The fight against plastic waste can be done as follows:

  • by reducing the production and use of plastic;
  • replacing plastic with a more environmentally friendly material;
  • development of products suitable for processing;
  • assistance to low-income countries with high pollution;
  • active construction of facilities for plastic recycling;
  • reduction in the export of plastic waste.

It is worth noting that even with thisplan, in a couple of decades the environment will still be polluted with 710 million tons of plastic waste. Despite the fact that the prospects for mankind are in any case not the best, researchers propose to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars for the production of more sustainable materials. When it comes to the future of humanity, you shouldn't be greedy.

An environmentally friendly substitute for plastic can be made from tobacco leaves

Residents of developingcountries that are self-collecting plastic waste for subsequent recycling. More often than not, they work in dire conditions and do not receive fair wages. But if not for their work, even more plastic waste would have fallen into the seas and oceans. They can be called heroes who stop a global catastrophe, but few people notice this.

Garbage collectors operate in terrible conditions

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The current situation with plastic pollutionso bad that tiny particles of plastic fall on us directly from the sky, along with raindrops. You can read more about this phenomenon in the material of my colleague Lyubvi Sokovikova - pleasant reading!