Biggest Source Of Plastic In The Ocean – Our oceans are drowning in plastics. Every year eight million tons end up in the oceans, and it is very important to know exactly how it comes. According to a recent study, more than a quarter of the waste comes from 10 rivers; Eight of these are in Asia.
“Rivers transport waste over long distances and connect almost the entire surface of the Earth to the oceans,” explains Christian Schmidt, an environmental researcher at the Helmholtz Research Center in Leipzig, Germany, making it an important battleground in the fight against marine pollution.
Biggest Source Of Plastic In The Ocean
Schmidt and his colleagues dug through published data on plastic concentrations in 57 rivers around the world. These measures include bottles and bags, as well as fibers and fine particles. To calculate the total weight of plastic flowing into the ocean, the researchers multiplied these waters by the water from the rivers. They then fed this data into a model, comparing it to the estimated weight of plastic waste produced per person per day along the river.
River Plastic Pollution Sources • The Ocean Cleanup
Credit: Amanda Montanez; Source: “Delivering Plastic Debris in Rivers to the Sea”, by Christian Schmidt et al., A
According to the modelling, rivers collectively dump between 0.47 and 2.75 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean. The 10 rivers that carry 93 percent of this waste are the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, Indus and Ganges Deltas in Asia and the Niger and Nile in Africa. The Yangtze alone dumps about 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste into the Yellow Sea.
In heavily polluted regions, better waste collection and management practices can help stem the tide, Schmidt said, but public awareness is critical.
This article was originally published in Scientific America 318, 2, 15-17 (February 2018) under the title “Plastic Rivers.”
Tackling Increasing Plastic Waste
Prachi Patel is a freelance journalist based in Pittsburgh. He writes on energy, materials science, nanotechnology, biotechnology and computing.
Discover the science that is changing the world. Browse our digital archive dating back to 1845, including over 150 articles by Nobel laureates. Ocean pollution is widespread, worsening, and presents a clear and current threat to human health and well-being. But the extent of this danger is still not widely understood. Our latest study provides the first comprehensive assessment of the effects of ocean pollution on human health.
Ocean pollution is a complex combination of toxic metals, plastics, manufactured chemicals, oil, urban and industrial wastes, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceutical chemicals, agricultural runoff and sewage. More than 80% of it reaches the oceans from terrestrial sources, including rivers, streams, atmospheric – air pollution washed into the ocean by rain and snow – and direct discharges, such as pollution from sewage plants. and discarded waste. Ocean pollution is most intense near coastlines and is most concentrated along the coasts of low- and middle-income countries.
Ocean pollution can also be found beyond national jurisdictions in open oceans, deep ocean trenches, and offshore islands. Ocean pollution knows no borders.
Ranking The Countries That Pollute The Oceans With The Most Plastics
Plastic waste is one of the most visible forms of ocean pollution. More than ten million tons of plastic enter the sea every year. Most of it breaks down into microplastic particles and accumulates in the oceans and depths.
Some large pieces float in the water for decades and reach such a large size that currents collect and move them. The so-called “garbage dump” of the Pacific Ocean is a well-known example.
Microplastics contain many toxic chemicals that are added to plastics to make them flexible, colourless, waterproof or flame retardant. These include carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors, hormone-disrupting chemicals, and chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, and reduced fertility.
These chemical-laden particles enter the food chain and accumulate in fish and shellfish. When humans eat seafood contaminated with these materials, we ingest millions of microplastic particles and the many chemicals they carry. Although there is still debate about the harm caused by microplastics to humans, exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of all diseases. Today, almost all of us have microplastics in our bodies.
Visualized: Ocean Plastic Waste Pollution By Country
Mercury is dispersed in the oceans, and the main culprit is the burning of coal in homes and industry. All coal contains mercury, and when burned, the mercury evaporates, enters the atmosphere, and eventually enters the ocean. Gold mining is another source, as mercury is used to smelt the gold from the ore.
Mercury can accumulate at high levels in predatory fish like tuna and swordfish, which are in turn eaten by us. Contaminated fish can be especially dangerous if eaten by pregnant women. Mercury exposure to babies in the womb can damage the developing brain, lower IQ and increase the risk of autism, ADHD and other learning disabilities. Mercury exposure in adults increases the risk of heart disease and dementia.
Oil pollution from oil spills threatens marine microorganisms that produce much of Earth’s oxygen by reducing their ability to photosynthesize. These beneficial microorganisms use solar energy to convert atmospheric CO₂ into oxygen and are also attacked by organic pollutants and other chemicals. When a large oil spill occurs, the impact can be significant.
Coastal pollution from industrial waste, agricultural runoff, pesticides, and sewage can increase the frequency of harmful algal blooms known as red tides, brown tides, and green tides. These flowers produce powerful toxins such as ciguatera and domoic acid that accumulate in fish and shellfish. When these toxins are ingested, they can cause dementia, amnesia, paralysis and even quick death. May cause asthma when inhaled.
Mediterranean Plastic Pollution Hotspots Highlighted In Report
Dangerous microorganisms are produced by a combination of coastal pollution and warm seas, which favor their spread. Harmful bacteria such as Vibio species, which are found in warm waters and are responsible for viviosis, a potentially fatal disease, are now moving north, causing life-threatening infections. There is a high risk of cholera
And the health impacts of ocean pollution fall disproportionately on indigenous peoples, coastal communities and vulnerable populations in the Global South, reflecting the planetary scale of environmental injustice.
Although the results of this report are alarming, the good news is that ocean pollution, like any type of pollution, can be controlled and prevented. Banning single-use plastics and better sorting waste can stop pollution at the source, especially plastic waste, on land and at sea.
Smart governments have killed other forms of pollution by implementing control strategies based on legislation, policy, technology and targeted enforcement. For example, the United States has reduced air pollution by 70% since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. It has saved the lives of thousands of people. They have proven to be very profitable.
America Is World’s Biggest Source Of Ocean Plastic Pollution
Countries around the world are implementing these tools to control ocean pollution. Boston Harbor in Massachusetts and Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong have been cleared. From the Chesapeake Bay in the United States to the Seto Inland Sea in Japan, buildings have been restored. Some coral reefs have been restored, such as those in American Samoa, through monitoring, conservation and rapid response to various pollution threats.
These achievements have boosted the economy, increased tourism, restored fisheries and improved health. They show that ocean pollution can be controlled on a large scale and that the benefits will last for centuries. Our study provides some clear recommendations for preventing and controlling ocean pollution, including transitioning to clean energy, developing affordable alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics, reducing human waste, expanding agriculture and industry, and marine conservation. areas
Protecting the planet is a global concern and our collective responsibility. Leaders who recognize the seriousness of ocean pollution, recognize the growing risks, engage civil society, and take bold, evidence-based action are critical to preventing ocean pollution and protecting our own health.
Write an article and join a growing community of over 167,100 scholars and researchers from 4,665 institutions. The Ocean Cleanup has published its latest findings on the composition, origin and age of plastic waste accumulating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). These findings will increase our understanding of the problem of plastic pollution, help us refine our cleanup strategies and understand the origins of this plastic.
Ocean Cleanup Struggles To Fulfill Promise To Scoop Up Plastic At Sea
Our previous research showed that nearly half of the GPPP’s plastic mass is made from fishing nets and ropes (fiber plastics, for example, to make our The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses) and the rest is made from many hard plastics. and small items. Fragments Although the origin of fishing nets is clear, the origins of the other GPPP plastics are – until now – unknown.
Data on marine plastic debris in the ocean are typically based on data collected by small-scale shallow trawlers designed to collect plankton. Because they are small in size, these tracks prefer small pieces of plastic. It is difficult to trace the origin of these small pieces, which limits their usefulness in determining where the GPPP plastic came from.
On the other hand, large plastic objects sometimes contain clues that help clarify their age, as well as their origin and geographic origin. However, these items are rare
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