India is running out of space for its trash. Photos of Mumbai's landfills show mountainous piles of garbage with children playing among the waste and rag pickers sorting through the dirty mound. India isn't the only place with too much trash; the whole world is producing millions of tons of garbage every day with limited space to put it. But exactly how much trash does the world produce, and which countries are the worst offenders?
A 2013 report by The World Bank determined that everyone on the planet produces a total of 3.5 million tons of garbage each day, a number that's expected to increase to 6 million tons by 2025 and a staggering 11 million tons by 2100. The present amount of garbage is already unsettling, but 11 million tons each day is incomprehensible. Dealing with all this trash isn't cheap either — it currently costs $205 billion per year to handle the world's garbage and that figure will drastically rise by 2025 as well to $375 billion, according to The World Bank.
With a population of nearly 12 million people, Mumbai's landfills are beginning to look more like mountain ranges, but India isn't the worst offender when it comes to waste. The World Bank analyzed waste by region, and countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes most of Europe, North America, Iceland, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea, accounted for 44 percent of the world's garbage.
In fact, South Asia only produces 5 percent of the planet's garbage. Mumbai residents only throw away about one pound of trash each day, while people in most OECD countries toss out more than four pounds. While recycling helps a little bit, it can't tackle this huge amount of waste. Despite this seemingly low percentage worldwide though, India generates a disproportionately high amount of waste for a low-income country. Typically, high-income, fully-developed countries have the most waste, for the obvious reason that residents can afford to buy more products.
Here's a breakdown of the countries that produce the most garbage per person each day, according to data from The World Bank.
More Than 5.5 Pounds Per Person
- United States
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
Between 4.4 To 5.4 Pounds Per Person
- South Africa
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
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