The Worldwide Problem Of Plastic
From making it to managing it, plastic is a major contributor to climate change; New report finds plastic production and use could have the equivalent impact of nearly 300 new coal power plants on Earth's climate over the next decade.
Brian Bienkowski, May 15, 2019 (Environmental Health News)
“…Scientists, policymakers and consumers are increasingly aware of the threat plastic pollution poses to oceans and water, wildlife, food and people. However, often lost in calculating plastics' environmental harm is its contributions to climate change…Each step in the life of a piece of plastic — production, transportation and managing waste — uses fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases and, as petrochemical and plastic production continues to ramp up, these impacts must be considered, according to [a new] report…In 2019, producing and incinerating plastic will emit an estimated 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of 189 coal-fired power plants…If production continues on the same trajectory, by 2030 plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions will reach 1.34 gigatons per year, which is roughly the emissions released by 295 coal plants…
By 2050, the annual greenhouse gas emissions from plastics will reach an estimated 2.8 gigatons per year – the equivalent of about 615 coal plants…Despite growing awareness of plastic pollution, there is an ongoing expansion of petrochemical and plastic production happening in the United States, as well as in China, the Middle East, Europe and South America…[The roadmap to reduce plastic's climate impact begins with a stop in] making and using single-use plastics; stopping the buildout of new oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure; moving communities to zero-waste; forcing producers of plastic goods to accept responsibility for the environmental impacts; and putting in place more ambitious [and plastics-aware] greenhouse gas reduction goals…” click here for more