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  • The amount of solid plastic waste produced since the 1950's,

  • as it has not been burned or recycled is around 4.9 billion tons.

  • This could all have been dumped into a 17 meter deep landfill, the size of Manhattan.

  • While much of it has indeed ended up in landfill around the world, far too much of it has found it's way into the natural environment.

  • With around 10 million tons a year ending up in the ocean.

  • Over half of all plastic is used just once and then thrown away.

  • Taking hundreds of years to decompose.

  • Apart from the perception that plastic waste is ugly and unnatural,

  • it has also been known to harm marine animals.

  • And exposed to salt water and sunlight it can fragment into micro plastics,

  • which some people fear can poison sea life and humans who subsequently consume it.

  • But is it as big an environmental problem as the plastic panic across the rich worlds suggests.

  • Plastics account for just 10% of the 1.3 billion tons of waste produced globally every year.

  • Air pollution is blamed for seven million deaths per year world wide.

  • Ocean acidification, the results of man made carbon dioxide emissions, is disastrous for coral reefs and many other forms of sea life.

  • In any case, efforts are being made to improve the situation or at least lessen the impact of plastic.

  • In 2008 Rwanda introduced strict laws banning plastic bags and many countries have since followed with similar initiatives.

  • In December 2017, 193 countries committed to a UN plan to stop plastic waste entering the ocean.

  • To eliminate plastic waste reaching the natural environment, it must first be collected.

  • In developed countries, virtually all of it tis.

  • But five countries in Asia are dumping more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined.

  • If the world wants to tackle plastic pollution,

  • then it should first concentrate it's efforts on the biggest culprits in Southeast Asia.

  • Until it does all other efforts will be a drop in the ocean.

The amount of solid plastic waste produced since the 1950's,

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