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Extreme Water Shortages are Expected to Hit These Countries by 2040

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The commodity markets have taken a pounding over the last few years, but there is one invaluable commodity that is getting a higher profile these days. While you may be able to get it right out of your kitchen sink, there are many places in the world that may not be so lucky. For this reason, some have speculated that we may be on the path to peak water.

Based on recent data from the World Resources Institute, here are the countries that are expected to get hit the hardest by water shortages in the coming decades:

Water Shortage Stress Map

The report notes that more people continue to move to cities and that this can put stress on the established water supply. Combine this with growing population and consumption, and some regions will struggle more than others to replenish water when it is needed. Circumstances are also exacerbated by changing climates: some areas that are wet are becoming drier, and vice versa.

A total of 167 countries were examined for “water stress” which is considered by the report as a combination of depletion and competition for surface water. Of the nations examined, there are 33 countries that are expected to have extremely high water stress by 2040. Here’s some that will feel it the most:

Water Shortage Stress by Country

In particular, life will not get any easier in the Middle East: 14 of the 33 countries with extremely high water stress are in the region. Nine of those countries scored a five out of five for water stress: Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon. The Middle East relies heavily on groundwater and desalinated sea water, and such ongoing water challenges could amplify volatility in the area.

The largest economies in the world, such as the United States, China and India, will also face stress in particular regions. For example, WRI notes that the southwestern United States and China’s Ningxia province could see water stress levels rise 40% to 70%.

Here’s a previous map we have shown that covers water withdrawals and deliveries in the United States:

Water Use in the United States

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Ranked: Top 20 Countries by Plastic Waste per Capita

Visualizing plastic waste per capita reveals a surprising list of countries that you may not have expected.

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Ranked: Top 20 Countries by Plastic Waste per Capita

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Single-use plastic waste is perhaps one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. Every year, millions of tons of plastic end up in oceans and landfills, harming wildlife and ecosystems.

To make matters worse, plastics take hundreds of years to decompose, leading to long-term environmental and health hazards as they break down into microplastics that contaminate water and food sources.

In this graphic, we visualized the top 20 countries that generated the most single-use plastic waste per capita in 2019, measured in kilograms per person. Figures come from research published in May 2021, which we sourced from Statista.

Data and Key Takeaways

The data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below.

RankCountryKg per personPounds per person
1๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore76168
2๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia59130
3๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ Oman56123
4๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands55121
5๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium55121
6๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel55121
7๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong55121
8๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland53117
9๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.53117
10๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช UAE52115
11๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile51112
12๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท S. Korea4497
13๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK4497
14๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ Kuwait4088
15๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand3986
16๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland3986
17๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland3884
18๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan3782
19๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France3679
20๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia3577

Countries from all around the world are present in this ranking, highlighting how plastic waste isn’t concentrated in any one region.

It’s also interesting to note how most of the countries in this top 20 ranking are wealthier, more developed nations. These nations have higher levels of consumption, with greater access to packaged goods, take-out services, and disposable products, all of which rely on single-use plastics.

Where’s China and India?

Note that we’ve visualized plastic waste per capita, which is different from the total amount of waste produced by a country. It is for this reason that major polluters, such as China and India, are not present in this ranking.

It’s also worth noting that this focuses on the demand side of plastics, rather than where plastic products were initially created or produced.

If you’re interested to see more visuals on plastic waste, check out Which Countries Pollute the Most Ocean Plastic Waste?.

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