Humans have produced 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 – enough to cover Manhattan in TWO MILES of waste.
- Scale of the plastic humans have created has been revealed for the first time
- Since 1950, when plastic was first made, humans have produced 9.1 billion tons
- The amount is comparable to the weight of 1.2 billion African elephants
- Around 9 per cent has been recycled and 12 per cent has been incinerated
The scale of the plastic humans have created and mostly dumped in the environment has been revealed for the first time.
Since 1950, when plastic was first mass produced, humans have produced 9.1billion tons.
The amount is comparable to the weight of some 90,000 Eiffel Towers or 1.2 billion African elephants, and is enough left to bury Manhattan under more than two miles of trash.
Around 9 per cent has been recycled and 12 per cent has been incinerated, the report said, meaning 5.6 billion tons is polluting the planet – either dumped in landfill, in the sea or countryside.
The plastic will hang around for hundreds if not thousands of years, with potentially harmful consequences for the environment, the researchers warn.
And by 2050, on current measures, we will have tossed away around 12 billion tons of plastic waste in landfill sites or the environment.
To put this into perspective, the authors say twelve billion metric tons is nearly 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.
The figure is calculated on the basis that current increases in recycling and incineration of plastic will continue – and we will have gone from tossing away 58 per cent of all plastic to just 6 per cent.
Around 4-12 million tons of plastic ends up in the sea each year.