Plastic pollution causing health crisis in poorer countries, says report

Dumped and burned rubbish, especially plastic waste, is responsible for the death of one person every 30 seconds in developing countries, according to a new report.

Published yesterday (14 May), the report, ‘titled ‘No time to waste: Tackling the plastic pollution crisis before it’s too late’, examines the impact of plastic pollution on poorer communities around the world and calls for producers of plastic waste to take action to reduce their single-use waste.

The report, compiled by disaster relief charity Tearfund, wildlife conservation charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and waste management charity WasteAid, highlights some arresting facts, stating that every 30 seconds in the UK, enough plastic is thrown away to fill two double-decker buses – while in developing countries, 30 double-decker busloads of plastic waste are burned or dumped. It notes that between 400,000 and one million people every year are dying from illnesses and diseases caused by living near plastic pollution – that’s up to one person every 30 seconds.

The authors of the report call on multinational corporations to make changes to the way they operate to reduce the impact of waste plastic, including reporting on the number of single-use plastic products they use and sell in each country by 2020, reducing by half the number of single-use plastic products sold in each country by 2025, and recycling one single-use plastic item per every one sold in low- and middle-income countries by 2022.