US Leads World in Plastic Waste Pollution, Report Finds
Washington – The United States produce more plastic waste to the oceans than any other nation, further exacerbating the environmental crisis, according to a new report commissioned by the US Congress.
This document, released on Thursday, notes that the United States leads the world in polluting, generating more than 130 kilograms of plastic per person. About 42 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 2016 nationwide, almost twice as much as China, and more than the entire European Union combined.
The vast majority of the plastics in question are made from fossil fuels, and some can take hundreds of years to break down. In addition, researchers revealed that between 1.13 million and 2.24 million metric tons of U.S. plastic waste escapes into the environment each year.
In addition, some 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean annually, and if the current trajectory continues, that number could reach 53 million by the end of the decade, an amount that would be equivalent to “about half the total weight of fish caught in the ocean each year,” according to the report.
“This report is a sobering reminder of the magnitude of the problem,” Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, co-author of the “Save Our Seas 2.0” legislation aimed at combating plastic waste, said in a statement.
“Research and findings compiled here by our top scientists will serve as a springboard for our future legislative efforts to address this very solvable environmental challenge and better protect our marine ecosystems, fisheries and coastal economies,” he said.