World must act to stem surge of polluting trash, UN warns

(VOVWORLD) -Pollution is set to escalate, according to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with the waste mountain expected to grow to 4 billion tons by the middle of the century, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in damage each year.
The Global Waste Management Outlook was published by UNEP within the framework of the 6th General Assembly session, which took place from February 26 to March 1 in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
The report said the world produced 2.3 billion tons of trash last year, adding that if no urgent measures are taken, by 2050 the volume of global waste could increase 60%, to 3.8 billion tons, far exceeding previous forecasts.

According to Zoe Lenkiewicz, the report's lead author, most waste comes from fast-growing economies and this waste is largely uncontrolled.

UNEP predicts that by 2050, countries will lose 640 billion USD each year because too much waste leads to pollution of groundwater and agricultural land, loss of biodiversity, increasing disease, and greater climate change. This damage figure is 75% higher than in 2020.

According to UNEP Executive Director, Ms. Inger Andersen, the key to reducing waste in the world is to control the production and consumption of single-used plastic products.

“The solution therefore isn’t waste management alone, although I want to emphasize that Africa does not have waste management or a solid waste management infrastructure, but the world needs to eliminate single-use plastic.”

According to Andersen, in the long term the world also needs to redefine the types of waste, because many types of waste still have economic value. To achieve the goal of a world without waste, policymakers need to apply design and production standards right at the early stages of making the products.

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