Mankind’s footprint continues to grow as human-made materials now carry the same weight as life on Earth

Every year, the amount of material created by humans increases at a rate of 30 billion (Representative image). | Photo credit: iStock Images

Key points

  • New research has revealed that the weight of man-made materials is equal to the weight of life on the planet.
  • The research has also raised concerns about the huge planetary footprint of human life on earth.

New Delhi: New research has revealed that the mass of man-made materials on earth has increased in recent years. As a result of the exponential increase, the mass of artificial materials now equals the total weight of life on Earth.

According to research, the mass of human-made materials – skyscrapers, clothing, plastic bottles, and more – now equals the weight of living things on earth. If humans don’t reduce their planetary footprint, the mass of human-made materials could exceed the weight of life.

In 2016, a team of scientists calculated the weight of the ‘technosphere’ which includes buildings and man-made products along with the weight of the earth and sea excavated or modified by humans. The estimated figure turned out to be 30 trillion tons.

Exponential increase in artificial materials.

During the beginning of the 20th century, the mass of man-made materials was 35 billion tons, which constituted 3% of the world’s biomass. National Geographic reported. However, the quantity amounted to 1.1 trillion tons. Every year, the amount of material created by humans increases at a rate of 30 billion.

Most of the materials considered for the count comprise concrete materials such as bricks, asphalt, and other metals. If the amount continues to increase at the same rate, it will weigh twice the weight of life by 2040.

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