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As much as 139 million tons of disposable plastic products per year. Another infamous record has been broken

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In 2021, the world produced a record amount of plastic, which comes almost entirely from the fossil fuel industry, according to the latest Plastic Waste Makers Index report. In two years, there was an increase of 6 million tons of additional plastic products.

The new edition of the Plastic Waste Makers Index by the Minderoo Foundation, published on Monday, February 6, includes data for 2021. It shows that the world produced a record 139 million tons of single-use plastic articles at that time, which is as much as 6 million tons more than in 2019. The increase means that the number of kilograms of plastic per inhabitant of the planet has increased by almost a kilogram in two years.

SEE ALSO: Microplastic found in human blood. For the first time

Plastic production and CO2 emissions

The authors of the report note that only 20 companies that belong to the petrochemical industry are responsible for more than half of the global production of single-use plastic. In addition, in 2021 alone, they generated about 450 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The leading producers of the largest amounts of plastic include the American ExxonMobil, the Chinese Sinopec, the American Dow, the Thai Indorama Ventures and the Arab Saudi Aramco.

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“This shows beyond any doubt that the problem of plastic pollution is becoming much bigger and is being driven by polymer producers who operate in the oil and gas sector,” said Minderoo CEO Andrew Forrest. The authors of the report stressed that “it is almost always cheaper to produce new single-use plastic products derived from fossil fuels than to reuse or recycle them”, and this “destroys the demand for plastic waste, destroys its value as a commodity and undermines the value of collecting waste.” .

The authors of the document add that the demand for products such as foils and sachets has increased. Their share in the total production of plastics increased from 55% to in 2019 to 57 percent. in 2021. According to them, ‘this trend is particularly worrying’ given that flexible plastics are difficult to collect, sort and recycle, and are easier to leach into the environment.

As CNN notes, in recent years, governments around the world have declared plans to reduce the use of plastic single-use products, e.g. banning the use of disposable straws, cutlery or containers. However, recycling is still not developing fast enough to cope with the amount of plastic being produced, and to keep plastic items out of landfills, beaches, rivers and oceans. Therefore, as Reuters adds, single-use plastic products are today one of the most pressing environmental threats to the world, and the process of their production is also a huge source of greenhouse gases, causing global warming.

SEE ALSO: Five billion mobile phones will be thrown away this year

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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