Graphic looks at data from the World Bank, detailing alarming amounts of human waste.


The world’s mounting trash crisis

By Ninian Carter

July 15, 2019 - Humans generated 1.8 billion tonnes of solid waste in 2016, including 220 million tonnes of plastic, according to the World Bank.

When China banned imports of global waste, particularly plastics, in January 2018, it created a knock-on effect whereby shipments were diverted to Southeast Asia, which soon became overwhelmed, forcing those governments into action.

Now nations across Asia are declining imports of plastic, which for decades had fed their recycling plants. As the amounts of waste increased, so too did the tainted garbage that could not be easily recycled.

Typically, 30% of plastic is contaminated, which often times ends up being illegally burned at night in a palm oil plantation – plastic smoke smells like palm oil.

In 2016, humans generated 1.8 billion tonnes of solid waste. By 2050, that may have risen to as much as much 3.1 billion tonnes annually. Approximately 12% of all municipal waste in 2016 was plastic ⁠— 242 million tons of it.

PUBLISHED: 15/07/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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