1.3 billion tons: researchers show how we can 80 percent of the plastic can prevent

We have it in Hand: almost 80 percent of the pollution of the environment could be reduced with plastic up to the year 2040. To do this, we would have to compan

1.3 billion tons: researchers show how we can 80 percent of the plastic can prevent

We have it in Hand: almost 80 percent of the pollution of the environment could be reduced with plastic up to the year 2040. To do this, we would have to company a worldwide, coordinated effort. This would have to start at several points at the same time – both in the use of plastic as well as in the processing and Recycling of plastic waste. This is the result of a in the journal "Science" published a study by an international research team to Winnie Lau from the Pew Cheritbale Trust, an NGO dedicated to environmental protection and nature conservation.

people around the World produce and use more and more plastic, approximately 95 percent of the cases, as a disposable products , plastic waste pollute the environment – whether micro - or macro-plastic. This is a Problem whose extent and effects are always clear and the science is devoted in the past years increasingly.

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Alone in the seas about eight million tons of macro-plastic, and in addition, 1.5 million tons of primary Microplastic get. The plastics are found in the remotest polar regions and high mountains, in all regions and Depths of the oceans, in the stomachs and muscle tissues of animals, as well as in the troposphere. Also the impact on people awareness.

mass of interventions is necessary

by the year 2040 could aggravate the Problem. More than 1.3 billion tons of plastic are then registered for 2016, according to Lau and colleagues from the us, in the oceans or on Land.

However, A strategy with measurable actions to address the plastic problem, it is not. The scientists Lau developed five scenarios to examine, which interventions are particularly helpful:

  • Business-as-usual - so everything remains the same
  • to Collect and Dispose of plastic waste
  • Recycling
  • reduce the plastic quantity
  • the simultaneous application of all of the above measures

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As particularly effective, to prevent plastic pollution to the environment, proved to be none of the measures alone. The scientists come to the conclusion, that, on the contrary, a change of system was necessary and that all interventions should be implemented.

Then, we would avoid almost 80 percent of the environmental pollution caused by plastic, but by 2040, however, to 710 million tonnes in the environmental register. For comparison: In the year 2015, the worldwide total of 380 million tons of plastic were produced.

The goal is reached

The measure, which appeared to be the most promising, was the Collection and disposal of garbage. "The Collection of garbage is actually the most effective way to prevent environmental pollution," explains Costas Velis, University of Leeds, who was also involved in the study. Therefore, the heart of any solution attempt should be the scientists, according to a good waste management and infrastructure.

Even if the task is large, are convinced the authors of the study, that the goal is achievable, if we use already existing Knowledge and technology. It is important, therefore, to not let

  • the plastic production continues to rise. to replace
  • plastic paper or compostable materials. design
  • products are recyclable.
  • the garbage collection in countries with middle or lower incomes to significantly expand.
  • facilities as a temporary measure to build up, the plastic in the world, which can not be economically recycled.
  • plastic waste to reduce exports.

"With the Ban of cotton swabs and disposable tableware, we don't have that Problem for a long time to handle."

"This study represents an important milestone in our journey to reduce our plastic-emissions", a rating of Melanie Bergmann of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar - and marine research in Bremerhaven, the study. The marine ecologist himself was not involved in the investigation.

"don't have Much to long, much to many of us the seriousness of the situation and positioned, and it has changed almost nothing, or at least nothing Significant. Although it has been in the last few years, an incredible number of studies on the topic of plastic micro-plastic," says Bergmann, "and also because such Numbers were missing, and many believed, with a bit of Recycling, it was already done." More on the topic of types of Terra X die ""legend Lesch: "If we don't stick together, let's go," biologist: renaturation of bodies of water costs billions, but the effect remains from Disturbing report: We are in the middle of the next "mass extinction"

This was not the case, as the study will show now. Exactly is important: "Because what you are suggesting: With the Ban of cotton swabs and disposable tableware, we don't have that Problem for a long time to handle."

consequences of plastic pollution are uncertain

"even now, even remote areas like the Arctic or the deep sea are greatly affected. The plastic will spread the adhesive contaminants in the environment and thus in our food chain,“ explains marine ecologist.

The consequences are uncertain: "they could range from a further feminization, increased inflammation, and perhaps even to a increased risk of cancer, particularly in the regions in which plastic waste is managed inadequately and openly burned," says Bergmann. It urges policy-makers to act, reinforced by a ban on "multi-layer plastic packaging or significantly increase the price, since this is virtually impossible to exploit, and the taxpayers ultimately cost a lot of money." Each week provides you FOCUS Online with the most important news from the knowledge Department. Here you can subscribe to the Newsletter.

However, in many areas of our lives plastic has become indispensable, as Rita grain sprout, head of the working group in Physiological Ecology of animals of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen says, "for example, in connection with Hygiene and there are no Alternatives." Therefore, the demand at the end of the study Innovation is particularly important.

What is the impact on the Covid-19 pandemic on our plastic consumption?

"As the authors, I am of the opinion that at as many 'screws' must be rotated in order to get a grip on the Problem. This, in my view, policy steps would have to be intensified and strengthened in order to strengthen the social awareness of the urgency of the issue even more far-reaching,“ confirms Triebskorn.

An exciting additional question is related to Stefan Krause, Professor at the School of Geography at the University of Brimingham, namely, how the current Corona pandemic affects the plastic consumption of the world.

Finally, associated with a rapid increase in the use of disposable plastics for personal infection protection in a professional as well as private sector. Krause poses the question, whether the "leads to a reversal in our dealing with plastic, and whether the resulting trends are more drastic scenarios than in the study considered projections."

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Updated Date: 24 July 2020, 11:27

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