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Mismanaged Plastic Levels Could Almost Double Unless Action Is Taken, Study Warns

Annual levels of mismanaged plastics seeping into the environment could almost double by 2040 unless urgent action is taken, according to a new study.

The report by the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate and developed by Systemiq, warns of escalating plastic pollution globally coordinated policies are not implemented.

It claims virgin plastic production could rise by 66%, from 430 million tonnes in 2019 to 712 million tonnes in 2040, with mismanaged plastic nearly doubled to 205 million tonnes also by that date.

In order to combat the rising pollution crisis caused by plastic waste, the report proposes a package of 15 global policy interventions.

These include targets to reduce virgin plastic production, bans on avoidable single-use plastics and collection and recycling rate targets.

It adds the effective implementation of these policies can only be triggered by common global rules from the international, legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.

The report claims promoting reuse, recycling and limiting single-use plastics could help achieve a 30% cut in global virgin plastic production by 2040, compared to 2019 levels.

It adds select developed economies might reduce consumption by over 60%, while some developing countries might see up to a 50% rise due to growth factors.

The study also claims reduction, elimination and the expansion of circularity could help lead to a 90% reduction in annual mismanaged plastics volumes by 2040.

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