The NGO Tearfund revealed a report that reveals how exaggerated the plastic air pollution footprint is from solely the highest 4 drink corporations throughout six international locations. Coca-Cola could maintain the place for prime polluters the previous two years in a row, however Pepsi, Nestlé, and Unilever should not far behind.

The stark statistics from Tearfund’s report:

  • Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Unilever are the highest turbines of consumables delivered in single-use plastic packaging.
  • These 4 manufacturers collectively generate 500,000 tons of dumped or burnt plastic air pollution a yr throughout the next international locations: China, India, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria. These international locations had been chosen as a result of they’re among the many largest growing nation markets on the earth.
  • That amount of plastic (sachets, bottles, and cartons) burned creates 4.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions – for instance that’s equal to the emissions produced by 2 million UK automobiles yearly. In growing nations, comparable to those analyzed within the report, waste tends to be mismanaged as a result of folks don’t have entry to collections.
  • The quantity of plastic from their merchandise might cowl 83 soccer fields each day as much as 10cm excessive.
  • Coca-Cola ranks as a prime polluter with 200,000 tons of plastic waste dumped or burned yearly. That’s roughly eight billion bottles, or sufficient to fill 33 soccer fields per day!
  • PepsiCo ranks second with a plastic air pollution footprint of 137,000 tons a yr.
  • Nestlé is third with a footprint of 95,000 tons per yr.
  • Unilever’s final with 70,000 tons.
Burning Plastic From Four Leading Brands Cause Severe Health Problems
Credit score: Daniel Msirikale / Tearfund

Refillable and Reusable Stations Demand

Tearfund is urging these 4 mega-brands in its report back to transition to sustainable, reusable and refillable packaging options – not simply recyclable single-use plastic which nonetheless finally ends up being burnt in lots of components of the world.

There are circumstances (though dreadfully few) that present the adoption of reusable and refillable supply mechanisms work. For instance, in Chile, a social enterprise group known as Algramo is working a cell meting out supply system for Unilever, and in Brazil, Coca-Cola has deployed returnable PET bottles.

The report stated:

These examples present transferring to refill and reuse fashions is feasible … there are decision-makers in firms who’re prepared to suppose exterior the (single-use plastic) field.

In the meantime, many communities are taking it upon themselves to make a change. For instance, a small city in Sikkim, India, banned plastic water bottles years in the past and launched refillable water bottles product of bamboo.

Emissions From Burning Plastic

Burning Plastic From Four Leading Brands Cause Severe Health Problems
Credit score: Daniel Msirikale / Tearfund

World plastic air pollution is about to double by the following decade because the manufacturing of it continues to extend. These firms are pumping out increasingly plastic that goes ahead to grow to be air pollution, improve carbon emissions, and trigger lethal well being impacts for residents of the poorest nations the place the rubbish isn’t managed nicely.

Dr. Ruth Valerio, Tearfund director of world advocacy and influencing, stated:

These firms are promoting plastic within the full data that it will likely be burnt or dumped in growing international locations: scarring landscapes, contributing to local weather change and harming the well being of the world’s poorest folks. At current, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever make little or no point out of emissions from the disposal of their merchandise or packaging of their local weather change commitments. These firms have an ethical duty for the disposal of the merchandise they proceed to pump into growing international locations with out correct waste administration methods.

Emissions produced from overtly burning single-use plastic at landfills, avenue corners, and in backyards in growing international locations represent a major contribution to the local weather disaster.

The report stated:

This large plastic air pollution footprint, whereas a disaster in and of itself, can also be contributing to the local weather disaster. These firms proceed to promote billions of merchandise in single-use bottles, sachets, and packets in growing international locations. They usually do that regardless of figuring out that: waste isn’t correctly managed in these contexts; their packaging, subsequently, turns into air pollution; such air pollution causes critical hurt to the setting and other people’s well being. Such actions – with such data – are morally indefensible.

A Horror Story

To depict the severity of the state of affairs, The Guardian shared a narrative a few girl residing in Tanzania and the way plastic waste is the torment of her and her household’s life.

Burning Plastic From Four Leading Brands Cause Severe Health Problems
Credit score: Daniel Msirikale / Tearfund

Royda Joseph is 32. She has three youngsters and lives along with her household in a neighborhood located subsequent to the Pugu Kinyamwezi garbage dump in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She and her household’s lives are blighted by the affect of air pollution from the dump. It’s continuously on hearth, and mud and litter unfold by means of the neighborhood, attracting big quantities of flies.


Between 400,000 and one million folks die yearly in low- and middle-income international locations due to illnesses associated to plastic and different mismanaged waste. Joseph stated the affect of the burning of waste was felt by her household day-after-day.


“The dump is on hearth each two days,” she stated. Typically, when it’s on hearth, the smoke is so darkish and big you can’t see the particular person in entrance of you or the home subsequent to you. Due to that smoke I get respiration issues and coughing, and eye issues too. The youngsters additionally get lots of respiration issues: they cough loads. When it’s actually unhealthy, there is no such thing as a approach you can take care of it with out going to the hospital. The smoke and the hearth come when the climate may be very dry and the gases are popping out of the hearth … when the dump is on hearth, it might probably take one to 2 hours till they name the hearth brigade to come back right here and attempt to cease it. It’s that unhealthy. Typically it might probably take two to 3 hours due to the site visitors.”


At instances Joseph has to go away her house due to the density of the smoke. “Many instances when the dump is on hearth and actually unhealthy when the smoke is so heavy, I shift to my kinfolk for a time,” she stated. Joseph is anxious about her youngsters’s future. “I’m apprehensive about my youngsters’s well being as a result of at all times when it is rather dry, the smoke at all times comes,” she stated. “I’m positive in the long term they’ll develop well being problems.”

And people aren’t the one ones struggling well being issues from plastic waste. Hermit crabs and a slew of different sea creatures are dying from the air pollution, in addition to seabirds and lots of different land animals.