- Scientists analysed data on plastic from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers
- Their results showed that 10 rivers account for the majority of plastic
- Eight of these are in Asia, including the Yangtze and Indus rivers
- Targeting these rivers could halve the amount of plastic waste, experts predict
Up to 95 per cent of plastic polluting the world's oceans pours in from just ten rivers, according to new research.
The top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste.
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.
Massive amounts of plastic bits that imperil aquatic life are washing into the oceans and even the most pristine waters.
But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood.
Now a study shows the top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for 88 to 95 per cent of the total global load because of the mismanagement of waste.
The team calculated halving plastic pollution in these waterways could potentially reduce the total contribution by all rivers by 45 per cent.
Dr Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany, said: 'A substantial fraction of marine plastic debris originates from land-based sources and rivers potentially act as a major transport pathway for all sizes of plastic debris.'
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