About 90% of marine plastic waste originates in 10 rivers in Asia, Africa: study

The Mainichi –

About 88 to 95 percent of marine plastic waste is estimated to come from 10 rivers in Asia and Africa, according to a study by German researchers. And one of those rivers, the Mekong, is facing an increasing pollution crisis caused by plastic bags and bottles near its mouth in southern Vietnam.

The research team at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig in eastern Germany made the estimate in a thesis published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal in October last year. The rivers have become polluters due to improper treatment of plastic waste on the ground. As approximately 2 billion people live in emerging and developing countries along the rivers’ basins, emergency measures to stop the pollution are required.

The researchers carried out the analysis using open-source data such as plastic waste samples taken from rivers across the globe and the volumes of water flowing from those rivers into the oceans. Their study showed that the Yangtze River in China transports the largest amount of plastic waste, followed by the Indus River flowing through India and Pakistan, the Yellow and Hai rivers in China and the Nile going through northeast African countries.

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