While bar charts, line graphs and simple numbers are hardly capable of providing the defining answer to many economic, social and political questions, they are certainly a good way of obtaining a general overview of any particular subject.
Each month the Business Supplement will look into a brace of statistical information and provide readers with what we consider to be the central elements of these figures.
Plastic waste problem worsening rapidly
There are some alarming statistics regarding plastic waste, its generation rates and how much of it is ending up in the marine environment.
China produces 1.1 kg per day of waste for each and every person in the country on average. 11 per cent of this is plastics, and the total amount of plastic waste generated amounts to a whopping 8.82 million tonnes per year of which an unacceptable 1.32 to 3.53 million tonnes ends up in the oceans.
Whilst the USA nearly tops the bill for total waste generated at 2.58 kilograms per person per day, a lesser amount of 0.04 – 0.11 million tonnes of plastic waste reaches the ocean. Of course even this amount is too much.
Thailand’s citizens produce an average of 1.2kg of waste per day each, of which 12 per cent is plastic waste. Some 0.15 to 0.41 million tonnes of plastic waste makes its way into the marine environment every year.
Other countries polluting their oceans with plastic waste to a greater extent include the Philippines which dumps 0.28 to 0.75 million tonnes per year into its oceans, Indonesia, which sees 0.48 to 1.29 million tonnes per year enter the oceans and Vietnam which pollutes its oceans with 0.28 to 0.73 million tonnes per year.
The global situation regarding plastic waste is getting rapidly worse. 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been made since 1950, but 50 per cent of that total has been produced in just the last 15 years. Only 10 per cent has been recycled and only 12 per cent has been incinerated. Fully 60 per cent of all plastic produced in the last 70 years is waste and remains in landfills, in the open environment or in the oceans.
Forest Fires increasing in most ASEAN countries
In most ASEANcountries the number of forest fires is rising, putting pressure on resources, polluting the environment and endangering lives.
The Philippines saw a tripling of the number of forest fires in the last 18 years. In 2001 the country recorded 1,448 fires. This number jumped to 4,723 in 2018 and already in just the first 5 months or so of 2019 the country has clocked up 5,780 forest fire incidents.
Thailand has also seen an increase, though by a lesser amount. Yet the numbers overall are higher with 17,679 forest fires recorded in 2018 compared to 11,965 in 2001.The current year has gotten off to a bad start with 28,201 forest fires reported from just January 1stthrough to May 7th.
However, some countries have seen a reduction. Malaysia had 7,307 forest fires in 2002 but only 3,367 in 2018. So far this year there have been 2,325 forest fires.