These are 2018’s stats of the year

2018 year review
(Unsplash, 2018)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Low rates of plastic recycling capture the essence of the times we live in. That’s the conclusion of the Royal Statistical Society which has assessed 2018’s most attention-grabbing stats as part of its annual awards.

The winning statistic of 2018 is that 90.5% of all the plastic that’s ever been produced has never been recycled.

Mass production of plastic got underway around 60 years ago and since then around 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste has been generated.

Of this, 12% of it is incinerated, with the rest ending up in landfill sites, as litter, or polluting the oceans.

“It’s very concerning that such a large proportion of plastic waste has never been recycled. The really low level of recycling has resulted in far too much waste leaching out into the world’s environment,” says Sir David Spiegelhalter, the chair of the judging panel and Royal Statistical Society president.

A mental image

One of the ways to make statistics more powerful is to make comparisons so that people can picture the scale of the problem.

In this case, the 6.3bn metric tonnes of plastic waste is equivalent to about 7.2 trillion grocery bags full of plastic, which – if stacked on top of one another – would be enough to reach all the way to the Moon and back 5,790 times. And if each of those bags contained just $1 worth of materials, that’s an astonishing $7.2 billion worth of plastic going to waste.

And that, according to one of the judges of the International Statistic of the Year, Prof Liberty Vittert , is enough money to buy Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, Exxon, GM, AT&T, Facebook, Bank of America, Visa, Intel, Home Depot, HSBC, Boeing, Citigroup, Anheuser-Busch, all the US National Football League teams, all the Major League Baseball teams, and all the English Premier League football teams.

The runners-up

The winning plastic waste statistic was just one of the key figures from 2018 considered by the Society for the award. According to the Society’s executive director Hetan Shah, the full list “captures some of the zeitgeist of 2018. We were delighted with the quality and quantity of this year’s nominations – with well over 200 received.”

Other key stats from 2018 include:

9.5%

That’s the reduction in global ‘absolute poverty’ since the 2008 global financial crash. Although many people in developed economies have experienced low wage growth, austerity and high rates of youth unemployment, the proportion of people living in absolute poverty around the world has more than halved in the last 10 years.

64,946

Between November 2017 and October 2018, the number of cases of measles reported in Europe more than doubled. For the whole of 2017 it was 25,465. That was a 15-fold increase on 2016’s 4,240 cases. But for the 12 months ending October 2018, it reached 64,946. The European measles increase is part of a global trend.

Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos MORI and one of the judging panel, says: “The rise in fake news regarding autism and measles has caused many parents to shun vaccination. We need to highlight that these claims are false and educate parents to prevent a possible measles epidemic.”

According to the US Center for Disease Control:

  • Around 5% of children with measles develop pneumonia, which is the most common cause of measles-related death in young children
  • About one-in-1,000 children with measles will consequently develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability
  • And for every 1,000 children who contract measles, one or two will die from it

40%

In June, the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, announced an increase in the retirement age for men from 60 to 65 – coming into effect in 2028. Whereupon it came to light that 40% of Russian men don’t live to see their 65th birthday. That’s according to the World Health Organization, which says only 60,084 out of every 100,000 Russian men are currently expected to reach the age of 65. In the USA, 79% of men expect to live beyond 65, and in the UK it’s 87%.

$1.3 billion

The rise of the social media influencer is highlighted by this statistic. On 21 February, Kylie Jenner, the reality TV star and entrepreneur, sent out the following on Twitter:

“does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?”

By the end of the next day’s stock market trading, Snapchat’s share price had fallen 6.1% from $18.64 to $17.51 – wiping $1.3 billion off the company’s value. Although there’s no proven causal link between the Tweet and the drop, it gives Ms Jenner’s Tweet a potential hit-rate of $14.8 million per character.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

“We are in Europe, but not of it”, from Churchill to Cameron: British Exceptionalism now threatens the entire EU Edifice

How we can work together in the fight against NCDs

First aid in six months reaches families in western Yemen, ‘timelines’ slip over Hudaydah ceasefire talks

This is how we make basic income a reality

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

World Retail Congress Dubai 2016: Retail’s night of nights

ECB with an iron hand disciplines the smaller Eurozone member states; latest victim: Greece

Tobacco in Pakistan: is it worth to burn your money?

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

Eurozone recession subsides

The EU Commission fails to draw the right conclusions about corruption

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

UN agriculture agency digs in to help forests and farms build resilience to climate change

What is inclusive capitalism, and why does it matter?

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

Global ageing is a challenge – and an opportunity

The Chinese retail revolution is heading west

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

Here’s how we solve the global crisis of tribalism and democratic decay

IPCC reports devastating climate consequences; US in denial while EU does not fully support the 2050 net zero emissions target

The Banking Union divides deeply the European Union

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

Improvements to pension systems have made them better placed to deliver pensions

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

UK’s May stresses global cooperation at UN General Assembly

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

Millions of young people need better job skills. Here’s how businesses can help

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

“InvestEU”: MEPs support new programme to boost financing for jobs and growth

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

The DNA of the future retail CEO

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

The hidden cost of the electric car boom – child labour

Colombia: Santos thanks the EU for its support to the peace process

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

We need to talk about failure in the social sector

ECB to buy corporate bonds: Will government financing be the next step?

This crisis cannot be confronted with statistics

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

How leaders can use ‘agile governance’ to drive tech and win trust

Greece leaves EU aid program, gets last 15 billion euro

The secret weapon in the fight for sustainability? The humble barcode

Slight easing of G20 GDP growth in first quarter of 2018

First-ever UN report on disability and development, illustrates inclusion gaps

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

A skills gap is jeopardizing efforts to end energy poverty

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Yemen: ‘Living hell’ for all children, says UNICEF; Angelia Jolie calls for ‘lasting ceasefire’

Roxane in Cambodia

Internet of Things: a Force for Good or Evil?

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s