A study found that China is responsible for about 2.4 million tons of plastic trash ending up in the oceans per year
By 2025, our world’s oceans will have about 155 million tons of plastic trash floating in them, according to a new study. Of course that depends on whether we can and will do something about it.
The study also revealed about how much trash is currently in our oceans, and the figure is significantly higher than what researchers previously thought.
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Staggering amounts of trash
A study published in Science magazine today and spotted by RT indicates that we’re allowing up to 8 million tons of plastic trash to end up in our oceans. Among the trash being discovered are plastic bottles and bags and even toys.
Researchers are warning that if we don’t do something about this problem, the amount of trash could rise tenfold in the next ten years. They also say that the 8 million figure is much higher than the amount found by researchers in past studies, indicating just how dire the situation is becoming.
Details on the study
To come up with these numbers, researchers at the University of Georgia looked at where trash comes from when it enters into the oceans. They were then able to estimate the amount of trash each source contributes per year.
Jenna Jambeck, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said 8 million tons of trash amounts to approximately “five grocery bags filled with trash for every foot of coastline in the world.” Because the amount of trash that ends up in the oceans increases each year, they estimated that this year, approximately 9.1 million metric tons will land in our oceans.
A lot more trash than previously thought
Until this study, researchers weren’t really sure about how much plastic ends up in the oceans per year. Previous estimates suggested that only about 270,000 tons of plastic trash were in the world’s oceans. But according to this new study, researchers say the total amount of plastic trash could amount to 155 million in ten years if nothing is done to curb this type of pollution. That would be about 10 grocery sacks of trash per year.
In conducting the study, the research team looked at solid waste data from 192 of the world’s coastal nations. They estimate that 88% or more of the world’s open oceans are polluted with plastic trash. To come up with a list of the worst polluters, they considered each nation’s economic status and population density and listed the top 20 worst countries for plastic trash contribution.
The worst plastic polluters
Unsurprisingly, China, the biggest nation in the world by population, was at the top of the list, contributing about 2.4 million tons or 30% of the total amount of plastic each year. In second place was Indonesia, followed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh, according to RT.
The only wealthy industrialized country that made the list of the top 20 was the U.S., which came in 20th place. If combining all of the coastal nations in the European Union, they would be in 18th place.