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Report – Reckoning with the U.S Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste

National Academies: “The United States should create a national strategy by the end of 2022 to reduce its contribution to plastic waste in the ocean, including substantially reducing the amount of solid waste generated in the U.S., says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report also recommends the U.S. establish a nationally coordinated and expanded monitoring system to track plastic pollution in order to understand the scale and sources of the U.S. plastic waste problem, set reduction and management priorities, and measure progress in addressing it. Reckoning with the U.S Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste concludes plastic waste in the U.S. is ubiquitous and increasing. Worldwide, at least 8.8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans each year — the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute — and in 2016 the U.S. generated more plastic waste than any other country, exceeding that of all European Union member states combined. Plastic waste has devastating impacts on the ocean’s health, marine wildlife, and communities. Without changing current practices, the report says, plastics will continue to accumulate in the ocean with adverse consequences. The report says today’s recycling processes and infrastructure are grossly insufficient to manage the complexity and quantity of plastic waste produced, and that a large portion of plastic waste is disposed of in landfills. While the U.S. solid waste management system is advanced overall, the committee that wrote the report concluded there is both a need and opportunity to expand and evolve municipal solid waste management in the U.S. to ensure it better manages plastic waste, and serves communities and regions equitably, efficiently, and economically…”

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