POLITICS

1154000000000000 Kilograms: Predicted total weight of everything man-made since 1990

Reported By:DNA Web Team| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: DNA webdesk |Updated: Dec 06, 2021, 10:41 PM IST

The year 2020 saw the weight of the man-made things, called the anthropogenic mass, outweigh the dry weight (excluding water and other fluids) of all life on the planet. As per an article featured on the World Economic Forum’s official website, the total “total anthropogenic mass” is predicted to be approximately 1,154 gigatons or an astonishing 1154000000000000 Kilograms.

Anthropogenic mass is the that makes up all the non-living solid objects mass made by humans that have not been destroyed or rendered unserviceable. This is the combined mass of all raw material that makes up our modern lives, from roads, dams and bridges and buildings to computers, utensils and stationery. Over 33% of this mass is can be attributed to concrete. In fact, concrete is the second most used substance by humans after water. Other big contributors are bricks, gravel and sand. While the total weight of plastic product isn’t high compared to other materials, it still exceeds the total mass of all land and aquatic animals.

Things made by humans has seen a rapid increase in volume in the last century. The mass has doubled in approximately every two decades. While the human-made mass stood at 3% of the total biomass in the world in 1900, today it is at the same amount.


While the Earth’s size is constant and resources are limited, the growth in human population has rapidly increased the consumption of resources. Humans extract raw material weighing around 90 billion tons annually. Anthropogenic mass’ rate of accumulation has climbed to 30 gigatons annually on average in the last five years. For reference, this amounts to each human alive on Earth producing more anthropogenic mass than their body weight each week.  

The author notes that the total weight of human-made mass could eventually become three times the total biomass of the living around the world by 2040.

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