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Plastic bags, first introduced in the 1950s as a convenient way to store food, have since developed into a global scourge, littering roadsides, clogging sewer drains and landfills and getting ingested by animals and marine life. And in recent years we’ve discovered how they are so prolific that they now comprise a significant portion of the plastic and other garbage that has collected in huge ocean gyres far from land.

Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tonnes of plastic since 1950 and there’s enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than three kilometres of trash, according to a new cradleto-grave global study.

Plastics don’t break down like other man-made materials, so three-quarters of the stuff ends up as waste in landfills, littered on land and floating in oceans, lakes and rivers, according to the research reported in Thursday’s issue of journal ‘Science Advances’. “At the current rate, we are really heading towards a plastic planet,” said study lead author Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of  California,Santa Barbara, “It is something we need to pay attention to.”

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Amogh Ghodke needs your help with “girish bapat: STOP PRODUCTION OF PLASTIC BAGS”. Join Amogh and 116 supporters today.