March 25, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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The United States is by far the largest producer of plastic waste

The United States is by far the largest producer of plastic waste

(Washington) A new report released on Wednesday called on the United States, the world’s largest polluter of plastic pollution, to develop a national strategy to address it.

According to this analysis from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, in total, the United States produced nearly 42 million tons of plastic waste in 2016 – twice the size of China and more than the European Union countries. However, the United States represents less than 5% of the world’s population.

On average, each American produces 130 kilograms of plastic waste per year, the UK second being 98 kilograms per person. 43 kg on average in France.

“The 20th year was a breakthrough in the amazing innovation of plasticsE The century has produced a flood of plastic waste worldwide, wherever we look, ”wrote Margaret Spring, chair of the panel of experts who wrote the report, which was commissioned by the US Congress.

She called the problem an “environmental and social crisis.”

At least 8.8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the sea each year worldwide – according to the report, one garbage truck is dumped into the sea every minute.

He said all plastics, including those thrown on land, could end up in the sea by rivers.

At current rates, the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean will reach 53 million tons per year by 2030, or about half the total weight of fish caught in the ocean each year.

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Scientific research has shown that hundreds of species are more likely to be trapped in plastic waste or to take microplastics.

If plastic production explodes, especially since the 1980s, recycling has not followed development.

The report recommends developing a national strategy in the United States by the end of 2022. It describes several latitudes to solve the problem, for example by imposing a limit on non-recycled plastic production, by capturing better plastics in the environment or by pushing the development of alternatives.

It also recommends better collection of data on plastic production, for example by identifying the largest sources of waste.

“This is the most comprehensive and damning report ever published on plastic pollution,” said Judith Enk, president of the Association Beyond Plastics.

“We can no longer ignore the role of the United States in the plastic pollution crisis, which is one of the biggest environmental threats facing our oceans and our planet today,” said Christie Levitt, NGO’s Director of Plastic Promotion in Oceania.