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The amount of solid plastic waste produced since the 1950's,
as it has not been burned or recycled is around 4.9 billion tons.
This could all have been dumped into a 17 meter deep landfill, the size of Manhattan.
While much of it has indeed ended up in landfill around the world, far too much of it has found it's way into the natural environment.
With around 10 million tons a year ending up in the ocean.
Over half of all plastic is used just once and then thrown away.
Taking hundreds of years to decompose.
Apart from the perception that plastic waste is ugly and unnatural,
it has also been known to harm marine animals.
And exposed to salt water and sunlight it can fragment into micro plastics,
which some people fear can poison sea life and humans who subsequently consume it.
But is it as big an environmental problem as the plastic panic across the rich worlds suggests.
Plastics account for just 10% of the 1.3 billion tons of waste produced globally every year.
Air pollution is blamed for seven million deaths per year world wide.
Ocean acidification, the results of man made carbon dioxide emissions, is disastrous for coral reefs and many other forms of sea life.
In any case, efforts are being made to improve the situation or at least lessen the impact of plastic.
In 2008 Rwanda introduced strict laws banning plastic bags and many countries have since followed with similar initiatives.
In December 2017, 193 countries committed to a UN plan to stop plastic waste entering the ocean.
To eliminate plastic waste reaching the natural environment, it must first be collected.
In developed countries, virtually all of it tis.
But five countries in Asia are dumping more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined.
If the world wants to tackle plastic pollution,
then it should first concentrate it's efforts on the biggest culprits in Southeast Asia.
Until it does all other efforts will be a drop in the ocean.


《經濟學人》塑膠究竟造成多可怕的汙染? (Plastic pollution: is it really that bad? | The Economist)

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Jessieeee 發佈於 2019 年 2 月 25 日    Jerry Liu 翻譯    Evangeline 審核
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