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Bricks, asphalt, and concrete will outweigh Humans, plants, and animals in 2020: Study

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There will be more man-made Stuff on earth than living beings by the end of 2020.

Soon there will be more human-made things than humans themselves on earth, according to a new study.

The study revealed that the world’s biomass that comprises of humans, plants, and animals is likely to be surpassed by man-made mass comprising of materials like bricks, asphalt, and concrete by the end of 2020.

In 1990, this anthropogenic mass was three per cent of total biomass but it has rapidly increased since then. The study estimated that by 2040, this Human-generated mass will reach up to 3 teratonnes if the current trend continues.

Scientists at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel used computer models to predict the historical and current mass of both human-made and biomass on earth dating back to 1990.

According to the findings, the estimated amount of biomass on Earth is roughly around 1.1 tetratonnes. The study also revealed that biomass had seen a steady decline in the past 120 years and in comparison to it man-made items have seen a rapid increase.

When scientists compared anthropogenic mass- excluding waste with the amount of biomass on earth on a graph, the lines overlapped at 2020 which means that this year, the anthropogenic mass will exceed the total biomass.

Every year about 30 gigatonnes (Gt) of anthropogenic mass is produced by humans per year.

Concrete accounts for 40 per cent of the total anthropogenic mass that is produced every year, with an estimated production of 549 gigatonnes (Gt) per year. It is followed by gravel accounting for 386Gt and Bricks accounting for 10 per cent of total anthropogenic mass per year.

Asphalt has also seen a steady increase in production since its emergence in the 1930s, in 2020 alone 65Gt of asphalt was produced.

Analysis of historical data showed that the end of world war two – 1945 and the oil crisis of 1973 was the longest period of continued year-on-year increases to the amount of anthropogenic mass.

In their study scientists only used dry biomass and human-made mass without including the waste, if waste is added to this, the data shows that human-made mass and waste exceeded dry biomass back in 2013.

Total wet biomass in the world is about 2.2 teratonnes, which human-made mass will exceed by 2037. If the waste is also included in the calculation it shifts the timeline to a few years early in 2031.

The results of the study are published in the Journal Nature.

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