'Planet Plastic': Plastic Produced Weighs Equal To 1 Billion Elephants

Humans have produced a whopping 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic since its production started about 65 years ago, according to a recent research.

That amounts to the weight of a billion elephants, 25,000 Empire State Buildings in New York, or 822, 000 Eiffel Towers.

Plastic is the most worrying waste in the environment as most of these plastics are non-biodegradable which means they don't decompose in earth naturally. This can cause the waste to remain for thousands of years.

More than 70% of the total production is now in waste streams, sent largely to landfill - although too much of it just litters the wider environment, including the oceans.

"We are rapidly heading towards 'Planet Plastic', and if we don't want to live on that kind of world then we may have to rethink how we use some materials, in particular plastic," said Dr Roland Geyer, co-author of the research by a University of California, Santa Barbara team.

Scientists say that current trends will increase the plastic waste to 12 billion tonnes by 2050.

The study is the first global analysis of the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made. It found only about 9% of plastic has been recycled. Another 12% is incinerated.

China, the U.S. and Europe produce the most plastic, Geyer said. "The best recyclers are Europe and China, but sadly, not the U.S.," he added.

In 2014 Europe recycled 30% of the plastic, China 25% while US just 9%.


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