Growth in plastic waste could exceed mitigation efforts

Plastic trash floating underwater

Today, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and Associate Center Director of Biodiversity Valuation and Assessments Beth Polidoro published a Science article titled “Predicted growth in plastic waste exceeds efforts to mitigate plastic pollution.”

In addition, 18 researchers from other universities and NGOs co-authored this publication including ASU Conservation Innovation Lab graduate students Erin Murphy and Miranda Bernard.

This work emerged from the center’s Plastic Emissions Working Group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

Summary results infographic
Summary results infographic

The results of their study indicate the degree to which plastic waste is piling up around the globe. Because plastic breaks down slowly and creates dangerous microplastics that pollute global waterways, the large amounts of plastic produced annually pose an alarming threat to species, ecosystems and humans.

The authors urge the global population to reduce unnecessary plastic use and production. Gerber also hopes that the study will encourage residents of Arizona to consider their consumption patterns and how they impact both local communities and global ecosystems.

Access the press release and learn more. This story has also received additional external media coverage.