Com­ing soon: Age of Plas­tic on your Earth

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Pra­sun Son­walkar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LON­DON: The Age of Plas­tic is upon us. In the next 40 years, plas­tic waste will bury the land and choke the oceans of Planet Earth, a new re­search led by the Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter has said.

The study pub­lished in the jour­nal An­thro­pocene ex­am­ines the ev­i­dence that we now live in the An­thro­pocene – a ge­o­log­i­cally epoch char­ac­terised by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter­ing the Earth’s sur­face, at­mos­phere and oceans.

The planet’s sur­face was be­ing no­tice­ably changed by the pro­duc­tion of lon­glast­ing man-made ma­te­ri­als, re­sult­ing in hu­mans en­ter­ing an Age of Plas­tic, a univer­sity re­lease said on Wed­nes­day.

Jan Zalasiewicz, pro­fes­sor of palaeo­bi­ol­ogy, said: “Plas­tics are pretty well ev­ery­where on Earth, from moun­tain tops to the deep ocean floor – and can be fos- silised into the far fu­ture. We now make al­most a bil­lion tons of the stuff ev­ery three years”.

“If all the plas­tic made in the last few decades was cling­film, there would be enough to put a layer around the whole Earth. With cur­rent trends of pro­duc­tion, there will be the equiv­a­lent of sev­eral more such lay­ers by mid-cen­tury.” Com­par­a­tively a new dis­ci­pline, palaeo­bi­ol­ogy looks at ori­gin, growth and struc­ture of fos­sil plants and an­i­mals.

CON­TIN­UED ON P10

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