According to Agence France Presse, a new report submitted to the Biden government on Wednesday (1) revealed that the United States is by far the largest contributor to global plastic waste. The report called for the formulation of a national strategy to solve the growing crisis.
According to the analysis, the United States contributed about 42 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste in 2016, more than the total of EU countries.
On average, the United States produces 130 kilograms of plastic waste per capita every year, followed by the United Kingdom, with 99 kilograms per capita per year. The second is South Korea, with a per capita of 88 kg per year.
This report entitled "Rethinking the role of the United States in global marine plastic waste" is part of the requirements of the saving our oceans 2.0 act authorized by Congress, which became law in December 2020.
Margaret spring, the chairman of the expert committee who prepared the report, wrote: "the successful invention of plastics in the 20th century also caused a flood of plastic waste all over the world, which seems to be everywhere".
She added that global plastic waste is an "environmental and social crisis", affecting inland and coastal communities, polluting rivers, lakes and beaches, bringing economic burden to human communities, endangering wildlife and polluting the waters on which human beings depend.
Research shows that nearly a thousand kinds of marine organisms are vulnerable to plastic entanglement or ingestion of micro plastics, and then return to humans through the food chain.
The authors of the study call on the United States to formulate a national strategy by the end of 2022.
The report also puts forward some suggestions to deal with the crisis, including the use of materials that degrade faster and are easier to recycle, and reducing the use of some disposable plastics. The report also points out that data collection is also an important priority and calls on the United States to establish a tracking and monitoring system to identify waste sources and hot spots.
Judith ENK, chairman of beyond plastics, a non-profit organization, said: "this is the most comprehensive and destructive report on plastic pollution in history. This is a red alert for plastics in the ocean."
Christie Leavitt, head of Oceana plastics movement, added: "stop blaming now. We can no longer ignore the role of the United States in the plastic pollution crisis, which is one of the biggest environmental threats facing our oceans and earth"