With the open discussions on pollution, I’ve become more consciously aware of how my actions affect the environment. And recent news coming out of Science and Science Alert highlights this ever-growing problem.
Plastic pollution is a problem that’s growing throughout the globe, with 710 million metric tons of plastic entering aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; oceans, lakes, rivers, soils, animal biomass, etc. A rise in single-use plastic consumption and today’s throwaway culture has heightened this issue, and waste management systems don’t have the global capacity to safely dispose of or recycle the plastic. Approximately 8 million metric tons (Mt) of macroplastic and 1.5 Mt of primary microplastic enter the ocean annually. If plastic production and waste continue to increase, waste mismanagement is expected to double by 2040, and more than 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic will be on the land and in the water.
To understand the flow of plastic and plastic waste, The University of LEEDs collaborated with SYSTEMIQ, The University of Oxford, and The Pew Charitable Trusts to develop the Plastic-to-Ocean (P₂O) model. It found that uncollected waste can be set on fire as an effective means of disposal. By 2040, more than 2.2 billion tonnes of plastic can be opened burned. But since roughly two billion people don’t get their waste collected, another intervention will be needed.
I’ll have to do some in-depth research on ways to solve our pollution problem, so stay tuned.
Until Next Time…