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Already 2.3 billion tons: the global waste mountain continues to grow

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The amount of waste continues to increase significantly worldwide. If no action is taken, the global waste mountain will continue to grow from 2.3 billion tons (in 2023) to 3.8 billion tons in 2050. This will also have major consequences for the economy and public health, it said in a statement on Wednesday. report from UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 5:53 PM

“Despite concrete efforts, little has changed,” the report says. “We have actually gone backwards and are generating more waste.” Moreover, the amount of waste will increase in the coming decades, especially in countries where processing takes place in the most polluting manner, for example by landfill or by incineration in the open air.

UNEP points out that while wealthy countries have an efficient waste collection system, collection rates in lower-income countries average less than 40 percent. “There are still billions of people whose waste is not collected.”

If nothing is done, the direct and indirect costs of waste worldwide will almost double to $640 billion per year by 2050, the report also says. For 2020, that amount was estimated at 361 billion euros.

There is therefore an “urgent need” to work on a drastic reduction of waste and to invest in a circular economy, it sounds. “We must act to prevent the worst scenario.”

Currently, 400,000 to a million people die every year from diseases linked to inappropriate waste management, UNEP notes. This concerns conditions such as diarrhea, malaria, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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