One of the perils of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation is the increased generation of non-biodegradable waste. Although the problem was not surmountable even when the global economy was in the rapid-growth phase, now, too, as the developed world has reached a peak—and developing countries grow at a rapid pace—waste disposal has not been able to keep pace with generation. While this has led to massive mountains of waste on land, the situation is graver still in the seas, where most of the waste gets dumped. A new report released by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at Davos shows that if the waste is recycled and processed at current global capacity, oceans would have more waste than fish in 2050.
The report says governments desperately need to innovate on recycling. More important, the report highlights that if innovative delivery models are instituted, it could unlock a reuse opportunity for at least 20% of plastic packaging, worth at least $9 billion. At present, around $80-120 billion is lost in plastic packaging material value to the seas. Even if the economics does not work out in the near future, governments would do well to start the process for the sheer environmental benefits.