A devastating 2005 flood that killed 1,000 people in the Indian city of Mumbai was blamed on a tragically simple problem: plastic bags had blocked storm drains, stopping monsoon flood water from draining out of the city.Now a new report, attempting to quantify this problem, estimates that 218 million of the world’s poorest people are at risk from more severe and frequent flooding caused by plastic waste.The number is equivalent to the population of the UK, France and Germany combined.
About 41 million of those are children, older people and people with disabilities, the report found. Three-quarters of those most at risk live in south-east Asia and the Pacific region.Researchers from Resource Futures, an environmental consultancy, and Tearfund, an international Christian charity, found that communities in Cameroon, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Bangladesh and Indonesia had experienced more severe flooding due to plastic waste blocking drainage systems in the last few years.
In these communities, plastic waste was a “risk multiplier” for flooding, they said.To identify those most at risk, they used a study of flood risk and poverty published in 2022 by Jun Rentschler and othersthat identified 1.8 billion people at high risk of flooding in 188 nations.
They narrowed their analysis to only low and middle-income countries with inadequate urban drainage, solid waste management and sanitation.Read more on theguardian.com