How much does plastic pollution cost the world?

How much does plastic pollution cost the world?

According to a report published by the WWF, producing, consuming and throwing away plastic costs almost 4 trillion dollars a year. Like the GDP of Germany in 2019. And it is a downward estimate

(Photo: Wwf) The entire life cycle of the plastic produced in 2019, from the expenditure to make it to that to smart it, generated an equal social cost to nearly four trillion dollars. Like the gross domestic product of Germany of the same year. This is what emerges from the latest WWF Plastics report: the cost to society, the environment and the economy, in which the environmental organization calculated the economic impact of CO 2 emissions deriving from plastic production processes, of waste management and its effect on the environment and human health.

The cost derived from the greenhouse gas emissions necessary for the production of plastics alone is over 171 billion dollars every year. While more than 32 are spent on waste management. Added to these are the indirect costs, caused by the pollution of ecosystems and the losses suffered by other production sectors, due to the dispersion of plastic in the environment. “Plastic appears to be a relatively cheap material, if we consider only the market price that primary producers pay, equal to about a thousand dollars per ton”, reads the report drawn up for the WWF by the consulting firm Dalberg. But, the experts add, "this does not take into account the entire cost imposed globally by the entire life cycle of plastic".

Since the 1950s, about 8.3 billion tons of plastic materials have been produced, of which only 40% has been recycled and 60% has been thrown into landfills or dispersed into the environment. Every year, more than 11 million tons of plastic are dumped into the seas and oceans, threatening marine life and damaging important economic sectors such as fishing or tourism. Furthermore, during its decay process, which can last for thousands of years, the plastic fragments into smaller and smaller particles, which make it difficult to recover and end up being swallowed by fish and other animals. The report estimates that this debris is responsible for the deaths of at least one million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals each year.

At the same time, the report points out, available data on plastic-derived pollution are not complete and it is therefore impossible to accurately estimate the true social and environmental cost derived from the life cycle of these materials. Which, according to the WWF, would actually be much higher than estimated so far. For this reason, without a significant contrasting action towards the production of virgin plastic, the costs are destined to increase more and more. By 2040, the entire life cycle of plastics could cost more than 7 trillion dollars, a figure equal to 85% of global spending on health and higher than the GDP of Germany, Canada and Australia combined. Furthermore, if plastic production were to double in the next 20 years, the resulting pollution would triple, making this sector responsible for 20% of the entire global greenhouse gas emissions budget and accelerating the climate crisis.

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Environment Climate pollution Plastic globalData.fldTopic = "Environment, Climate, pollution , Plastic "

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