From 2019, the social cost of plastic will be more than India’s GDP


According to a report released by wildlife charity World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Monday (Sept 6), warning of the environmental and economic burden of this “seemingly cheap” material, the pollution, emissions, and clean-up costs of plastic produced in 2019 alone could be US$3.7 trillion (S$4.96 trillion).
Microplastics have entered even the most distant and otherwise pristine parts of the globe, prompting growing international concern over the sheer number of fossil-fuel-based polymers entering the ecosystem.
In its study, WWF said that communities were “unwittingly subsidising” plastic, estimating that the lifetime costs of 2019 manufacturing would be greater than India’s GDP. When looking at the market price, primary plastic makers pay for virgin plastic, plastic looks to be a reasonably inexpensive material,” according to the report Plastics: The Cost To Society, Environment, and Economy, published for WWF by the consultant Dalberg. “However, this price does not reflect the whole cost imposed throughout the plastic life cycle.” A predicted doubling of plastic output may see costs soar to US$7.1 trillion by 2040 unless there is coordinated worldwide action, according to the report.
The study looked at greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing process, health effects, waste management, and estimations of the economic “services” provided by ecosystems on land and in water. Around 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been manufactured since the 1950s, with about 60% of it ending in landfills or the natural environment. Tiny pieces have been detected inside fish at the ocean’s lowest depths and on Arctic sea ice.
More than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals are expected to die each year due to the trash.


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