Among the countless fruits of industrialization, one disadvantage that it has resulted in is our notorious dependence on plastics. People living in this age cannot imagine a world without articles made of plastic.
Humans have created about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic to date, outgrowing all man-made materials other than steel and cement. In order to imagine the magnanimity of 8.3 billion metric tons, imagine the total size of 822,000 Eiffel towers, 25,000 Empire State buildings, 80 Million Blue Whales and a billion Elephants combined!
Plastics are used in a wide variety of products and have displaced other materials, such as wood, metal, and glass. But their production doesn’t date back farther than 16th century. By 1950, the total global production of plastic summed up to 2 million metric tons whereas by 2017 it reached 8.3 billion tons. It has been estimated that the net production by 2050 will be around an enormous size of 34 billion tons.
The plastic waste can be recycled, incinerated or discarded. The amount of waste which gets accumulated in the landfills is as huge as 79% of the total waste, whereas 9% is incinerated and the remaining 9% is recycled for reuse in the industry for the production of products with downgraded quality.
According to estimates, total plastic waste in 2015 was 6.3 Billion metric tons, and total plastic waste projected for the year 2050 is said to be 12 billion metric tons.
Conducting anti-plastic campaigns can make an amount of difference. Efforts are required to ban plastic straws and bags, as they can raise awareness and change behaviors of consumers over time. But these campaigns generally take place in the developed countries that aren’t contributing a substantial amount to solve the problem.