People, Environment

Plastic to Outweigh Fish by 2050

Plastic to Outweigh Fish by 2050Plastic to Outweigh Fish by 2050

According to a new report from the UK-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation, unless the world takes drastic action to recycle plastic, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

The study, which drew on multiple sources, proposes setting up a new system to massively cut the leaking of plastics into nature, especially the oceans, and to find alternatives to crude oil and natural gas as the raw material of plastic production.

The report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which includes analysis by the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment, says that at least eight million tons of plastics find their way into the ocean every year — the equivalent of one truck full of garbage every minute, DW reported.

“If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050,” said the report, with packaging estimated to represent the largest share of the pollution.

The report also notes that an overwhelming 95% of plastic packaging worth $80-120 billion a year is lost to the economy after a single use.

 Business as Usual

Available research estimates that there are more than 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today.

“In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish,” said the report.

The report noted that a sweeping change in the use of plastic packaging would require cooperation globally between consumer goods companies, plastic packaging producers, businesses involved in collection, cities, policymakers and other organizations, AFP reported.

It proposed creating an independent coordinating body for the initiative.

“Plastics are the workhorse material of the modern economy with unbeaten properties. However, they are also the ultimate single-use material,” said Martin Stuchtey of the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

“Growing volumes of end-of-use plastics are generating costs and destroying value to the industry,” he added.