Just Ten Rivers Contribute Most Plastic Pollution


Published Oct 17, 2017 6:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

A group of scientists have found that up to 95 percent of plastic polluting the world's oceans comes from just 10 rivers, eight of which are in Asia.

An estimated eight million of tons of plastic waste enter the world's oceans every year, and rivers are major transporters of the pollution. 

Dr Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist from the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, and colleagues analyzed existing research involving 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers around the world to come up with the top 10 polluting rivers. The researchers' calculations indicated that the amount of plastic in rivers was related to the mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds. 

The 10 Most Polluting Rivers

Yangtze - East China Sea, Asia
Indus - Arabian Sea, Asia
Yellow - Yellow Sea, Asia
Hai He - Yellow Sea, Asia
Nile - Mediterranean Sea, Africa
Ganges - Bay of Bengal, Asia
Pearl - South China Sea, Asia
Amur - Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
Niger - Gulf of Guinea, Africa
Mekong - South China Sea, Asia 

It is estimated that the amount of plastic rubbish in the world's oceans will outweigh fish by 2050 unless drastic action is taken. The Daily Mail reports that one million plastic bottles are sold every minute and less than half are recycled. More than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, according to a study published in 2015. The only industrialized western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the U.S. at position 20.