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The cost of plastic waste and how to reverse the trend

by Prittle Prattle Team
The cost of plastic waste and how to reverse the trend

The widespread use of plastic in our culture has reached alarming levels, which should be a source of concern for all nations. We generate approximately 359 million tonnes of plastic per year, with the worldwide market valued at USD 568.9 billion in 2019 and expected to reach nearly USD 1 trillion by 2035. The Asia-Pacific area produces 49.3 percent of this output. In addition, it is where 38% of all it is consumed.

Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic will enter the world’s oceans. The majority of it comes via rivers, which act as direct conduits for waste from some of the world’s fastest developing cities into the marine environment.

It has a short-term relationship with humans. It is used is intended to be used only once. We use it earlier before discarding it. We’d like to believe that this is recycled, yet only 9% of all plastic garbage has ever been recycled. About 12% has been cremated. The remaining 79% has been collected as garbage in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment, clogging our drains, threatening marine life, and posing health risks to residents.

The economic costs of marine plastic contamination are also significant. The direct damage to the ASEAN region’s blue economy is estimated to be USD 2.1 billion per year, according to conservative projections published in March 2020. Notably, only the immediate expenses of three initiatives are covered: shipping, fisheries and aquaculture, and maritime tourism. Boats may evolve implicated in abandoned or discarded fishing nets, or their engines may become blocked with its debris. In contrast, “ghost fishing” using abandoned fishing gear resulted in smaller catch sizes. Tourists are also less likely to visit contaminated beaches and waters – who wants to dive near coral reefs that have been damaged?

Under a “business-as-usual” scenario, its output is estimated to triple between 2020 and 2050, increasing this sum to USD 2.1 billion per year. Enormous social costs accompany these economic losses. Residents of coastal towns suffer from the harmful health impacts of its pollution and trash obtained by the waves and are inextricably linked to their livelihoods’ fishing and tourism sectors. We must begin finding ways to prevent our oceans from becoming further polluted by it and other debris and clean up our oceans once they have become polluted.


Solving the problem of marine plastic pollution may – and must – be handled from a variety of perspectives.

The first step is to identify which products can replace non-plastic, recyclable, or biodegradable alternatives. We can locate options for single-use of it and build reusable products by working with product designers. Countries must adopt circular and sustainable economic concepts throughout the value chain to achieve this.

It is affordable because they are made with substantially subsidized oil and may be made at a more low cost, with fewer financial incentives to employ recycled . Price systems that internalize the harmful externalities of consumption and stimulate alternative materials or reused and recycled plastics are required.
Technologies and Innovation: Creating tools and technology to help governments and organizations measure and monitor garbage in cities. Closing the Loop, a program of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), assists municipalities in developing more robust policy solutions to fight the problem.
Creating a Plastic-Free Workplace: In 2018, ESCAP declared all catering operations plastic-free. To encourage staff and visitors to improve their habits, all single-use goods were replaced with reusable items or more sustainable single-use options, and a cost was added. This program is estimated to save roughly nine tonnes of waste per year by reconsidering our work habits.
Producer Responsibility: In the retail (packing) sector, manufacturers are accountable for collecting and recycling products released into the market.
Municipal and community measures include:
  • Beach and river clean-ups.
  • Public awareness campaigns explain how people’s behaviors contribute to marine plastic pollution (or how they may help solve it).
  • Disposable plastic bag bans and levies.
Collaboration Among Stakeholders: Government ministries at the national and local levels must collaborate in developing, implementing, and oversight of policies, including participation from industrial producers, non-governmental organizations, and volunteer organizations. Instead of acting in silos, all stakeholders must work in concert and cooperate. They’ll need not just the drive to succeed but also the resources and cash to do so.
On December 15 and 16, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) discussed these issues with ESCAP, the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs, the COBSEA, and the ASEAN Secretariat at the OECD Regional Policy Dialogue forum. The OECD and ESCAP collaborate to provide policy coherence and sustainable funding expertise to help nations develop long-term solutions to these problems.
At the OECD Regional Policy Dialogue meeting, regional players can exchange information and establish cooperative initiatives to reduce marine pollution. Together, we can build the groundwork for solutions to restore Southeast Asia’s pristine, plastic-free waters.

This release is articulated by Prittle Prattle News in the form of an authored article.

Video Courtesy: Anuj Ramatri

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