If you’re a regular reader of Soundings, you’re likely in the know about the plastic waste that is choking our oceans, killing aquatic life and forever altering pristine marine landscapes. But it might surprise you to know that a whopping 95 percent of that waste comes from only 10 individual river systems, eight of which are in Asia.
Dr. Christian Schmidt, of the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, says in a Daily Mail article, “The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88 to 95 percent of the global load into the sea.”
Among the top plastic polluters are the Yangtze River (727 million pounds), Xi, Dong and Zhujiang rivers (233 million pounds) and the Ganges River, from which 1.2 billion pounds of plastic waste flows every year. You can read about the study, and find out what is being done to clean up these rivers, by reading the Daily Mail’s article here.
There are efforts to clean up the “garbage patches” in the ocean where much of this plastic is ends up after hitching a ride on various ocean currents. The Ocean Clean Up is one organization working on the problem. This year it will deploy an array of floating booms that are designed to skim plastic wastes from the ocean’s surface.