GROUNDBREAKING STUDY REVEALS: 90 PERCENT OF WORLD'S PLASTIC WASTE COMES FROM ASIA AND AFRICA
(This has been done before)
A shocking study has revealed 90 per cent of the world's plastic waste comes from just 10 rivers in Asia and Africa.
As governments around the world rush to address the global problem of plastic pollution in the oceans, researchers have now pinpointed the river systems that carry the majority of it out to sea.
About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources - such as the Yangtze and the Ganges - could almost halve it, scientists claim.
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Carried out by Germany's Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, it suggests that the most effective way of reducing the amount of plastic in the world's oceans is by addressing the sources of pollution along such waterways as these.
The researchers, who first released their paper in 2017, issued a chilling warning for the future.
'One thing is certain: this situation cannot continue,' Dr. Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at the Germany's Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Researchsaid when the study was first published.
'But as it is impossible to clean up the plastic debris that is already in the oceans, we must take precautions and reduce the input of plastic quickly and efficiently.'
His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers - both microplastic particles measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size.
China's Yangtze River was the worst polluter, and ferries some 1.5 million tonnes of plastic into the Yellow Sea every year, the study found.
They said microplastics in particular can damage the health of marine life but cleaning it all up would be impossible.
THE 10 MOST POLLUTING RIVERS
Yangtze East China Sea Asia
Indus Arabian Sea Asia
Yellow River Yellow Sea Asia
Hai He Yellow Sea Asia
Nile Mediterranean Africa
Ganges Bay of Bengal Asia
Pearl River South China Sea Asia
Amur Sea of Okhotsk Asia
Niger Gulf of Guinea Africa
Mekong South China Sea Asia