Xinhua news agency, Beijing, December 2 - according to a report released by the National Academy of science, engineering and medicine on December 1, the United States is currently the world's largest producer of plastic waste, both in terms of total amount and per capita value. The report calls on the US government to introduce policies at the national level to solve the growing problem of plastic waste.
According to the report, since the 1960s, the total amount of plastic waste in the United States has increased year by year, reaching about 42 million tons in 2016, ranking first in the world, more than the total amount of plastic waste produced by all Member States of the European Union in the same year. It is worth noting that the population of the United States accounted for only about 4.3% of the global population in 2016, which means that the United States produced 130 kg of plastic waste per capita that year, ranking first in the world, two to eight times that of many countries.
In the ranking of "output" of plastic waste per capita in 2016, Britain and South Korea ranked second and third with 99kg and 88kg per capita respectively.
The report, entitled "assessing the role of the United States in global marine plastic waste", was prepared by the National Academy of science, engineering and medicine authorized by the U.S. Congress in accordance with a marine protection act that came into force last December. The report said that in view of the lack of data on plastic waste in the United States, it is difficult to accurately estimate the amount of plastic waste entering the nature and ocean in the United States every year. Nevertheless, the situation assessed in the report can still reflect the current severity of plastic waste in the United States.
The report said that in recent years, on average, at least 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, "equivalent to dumping a truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute". Among them, the United States "contributes" about 1 million tons of plastic waste to the ocean every year. According to the current trend, by 2030, the global amount of plastic waste entering the ocean may be as much as 53 million tons, almost half the weight of fish caught from the ocean every year.
"Don't blame each other now. We can't ignore the role of the United States in the plastic pollution crisis. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats facing the ocean and the earth," said Christie Levitt, director of plastic waste at the world marine protection organization
The report recommends that the US government introduce a series of policies at the national level by the end of next year to reduce the plastic waste entering the sea. For example, track and monitor relevant data, reduce the output of plastic products, promote alternative materials that are easier to degrade and recycle, reduce the use of disposable plastic products, and strengthen law enforcement on dumping garbage into the sea.