Without urgent action, global waste arisings will increase by 70 percent compared to current levels by 2050, according to a new study by the World Bank entitled "What a Waste 2.0". The international financial institution predicts that in the next 30 years solid waste arisings will climb to 3.4 billion tonnes due to rapid urbanisation and population growth. In 2016, worldwide waste arisings stood at just over 2.0 billion tonnes.
Although they account for only 16 per cent of the world's population, high-income countries in Europe, North America and Central Asia together produce more than a third of the world's waste. The East Asia and Pacific region is responsible for generating nearly a quarter of all waste. By 2050, waste generation in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than triple from current levels, while South Asia waste arisings are predicted to more than double.
The World Bank considers plastic waste particularly problematic. If they are not properly collected and managed, they will pollute waterways and ecosystems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, according to the report. In 2016, a total of more than 240 million tonnes of waste plastics were generated – 12 per cent of all solid waste.