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New Delhi — Up to five-trillion grocery bags are used each year and like most plastic rubbish, barely any is recycled, the UN said on Tuesday as it warned that the world was choking on trash. In a report for International Environment Day, the UN warned that at current levels the earth could be awash with 12-billion tonnes of plastic trash by the middle of the century. "Our oceans have been used as a dumping ground, choking marine life and transforming some marine areas into a plastic soup," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, in the report released in New Delhi. "In cities around the world, plastic waste clogs drains, causing food [diseases] and breeding diseases. Consumed by livestock, it also finds its way into the food chain." Most of this plastic rubbish clogging waterways and landfill is single-use items such as straws, bags and cutlery. The report said the five-trillion plastic bags consumed each year equalled nearly 10-million plastic bags used per minute.

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