OECD warns of sharp increase in plastic production and waste

The United Nations has recently started talks to tackle plastic waste pollution. But in a report published on Friday, June 3, the OECD forecasts that the production of plastics and associated waste will grow exponentially by 2060, even if stronger framework measures are put in place globally. If nothing is done, the production of plastics will almost triple from 460 million tonnes to 1,231 million tonnes in 2019, and the production of plastic waste will increase in the same proportion from 353 to 1,014. million tonsAccording to this document titled “Global Plastic Outlook: Sceneries for Action by 2060”,

Millions of tons of waste generated each year, which turns into micro-plastics, are found in all of the world’s oceans, in sea ice, in the bodies of humans and other animals, and even in the air. from mountain peaks. Thus they play an important role in the decline of biodiversity.

The United Nations began negotiations for a global treaty against plastic pollution in early March. But development of a text is not expected before 2024. Meanwhile, the OECD has assessed two scenarios with reinforced measures covering the entire life cycle of plastics (production-use-recycling or disposal), as provided for in the mandate. of future international treaty negotiators. they can keep following “For a relatively modest cost with respect to GDP”.

The first “regional action” scenario provides for individual commitments by country in the OECD with more ambitious measures for those who are wealthy. Second, “global ambition” is envisaged. “A set of very drastic measures aimed at reducing global plastic discharge to zero levels by 2060”, But even in these two scenarios, the use of plastic and the production of waste is increasing rapidly.

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In “regional action”, plastic production will drop from 460 million tonnes to 1,018 million tonnes (that is, 17% lower than forecast levels if nothing is done) and waste production will increase by 353 million tonnes to 837 million tonnes. (also -17%), the OECD estimates.

In both scenarios, only the amount of “mismanaged garbage” And “plastic waste” The absolute value will decline compared to 2019 levels in the environment.

The amount of mismanaged waste will increase from 79 million tonnes in 2019 to 59 million tonnes in 2060 in the regional scenario and 6 million tonnes in the global scenario, to 153 million tonnes if nothing is done. Discharge in nature will decrease from 22 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes in the regional scenario and 6 million tonnes in the global scenario, while increasing by 44 million tonnes without any measures.

If nothing is done, reserves already accumulated in the aquatic environment will be multiplied by three (109 to 348 million tonnes) for rivers and lakes and by about five (30 to 145 million tonnes) in the oceans.

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