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American Largest Plastic Polluter in the World: 130 Kilos Per Year

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The United States is by far the largest contributor to global plastic pollution. Every American generates an average of 130 kilograms of plastic waste per year.

 

That is considerably more than Great Britain, where Britons are in second place with 99 kilograms of plastic waste per year, followed by South Koreans with 88 kilograms of waste.

On Wednesday, the study presented to the US government showed that the United States produced about 42 million tons of plastic waste in 2016. That is more than twice as much as China and more than all the countries of the European Union combined, say the scientists.

Lead researcher Margaret Spring argues that plastic, once a “miracle invention”, is currently “seemingly everywhere we look”, leading to a deluge of waste. According to Spring, this creates a social crisis as well as an environmental crisis because many inland and coastal communities are affected by polluted rivers, lakes and beaches.

The researchers state that the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the ocean every minute. If the world continues at this rate, 53 million tons of plastic will be dumped into the ocean every year by 2030. That’s about half the weight of all the fish fished out of the ocean each year.

The researchers call on the US government to do something about the amount of plastic waste. This can be done, for example, by limiting plastic production or by using more recyclable materials.

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