Study reveals 5 countries account for 60% of plastic pollution in world’s oceans

  • Recent study shows 5 countries contribute 60% of plastic waste in oceans all over the world
  • These countries include China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam
  • Roughly 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans

According to a new study dubbed Stemming the Tide, roughly eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year in which majority of the waste comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The study, which was released by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, disclosed that reasons behind it may be attributed to various factors to include rapid economic growth, reduced poverty and improved quality of life that the five countries are currently experiencing.

An article written by Lorraine Chow which was published on EcoWatch, denotes that as these countries economies grow, consumer use of plastic and plastic-intensive goes likewise experience growth especially because the five countries do not yet have waste management infrastructures yet.

By the year 2025, the study projects plastic consumption in Asia will increase by an astonishing 80 percent to surpass 200 million tons.

With this, the study suggests that steps and interventions to properly manage waste must be undertaken. This, include global ocean plastic clean-up efforts concentrated in the five areas.

If interventions will be done, the study says, the five identified countries could reduce global plastic-waste leakage by approximately 45 percent over the next 10 years.

Photo Credit: Eco Watch
Photo Credit: Eco Watch

Meanwhile, study authors came up with five approaches that were exclusively customized and designed for each country. These are: collection services, closing leakage points in collection facilities, gasification (converting waste into fuel) and MRF-recylcing (diverting plastic from the waste stream).

In a press release for the study, local government head of Dagupan City (Philippines)Belen Fernandez was quoted saying there have been drastic consequences on the livelihoods and health of the people brought by the garbage disposal problem.

“Our town has had a dump site on our beach for over 50 years,” she said about the coastal Philippine city as she added “We’re working hard to close the dump, and increase the capacity of waste management in Dagupan. Addressing the problem of ocean plastic will have real benefits for not just the environment, but for our citizens—by improving their quality of life. I hope our city and our work will become a model for what’s possible around the world.”

Meanwhile, Andreas Merkl, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, said in a statement that the study is the first to outline a specific path that aims to reduce or eliminate plastic waste in the oceans.

The report’s findings confirm what many have long thought—that ocean plastic solutions actually begin on land. It will take a coordinated effort of industry, NGOs and government to solve this growing economic and environmental problem,” he noted.

Concrete information based on Ocean Conservancy data denotes the following: improving waste management in five countries could reduce global ocean plastic leakage by approximately 45 percent over the next 10 years; total leakage could be reduced if a concrete set of action is implemented in the five identified sites; raising collection rates across priority countries to an average of 78 percent would lead to a 23 percent reduction of plastic leakage into the ocean; improved collection infrastructure and plugging collection gaps can reduce annual leakage by nearly 50 percent by 2020; over the next 20 years concerted action in the form of a $5 billion annual ramp-up in waste management spending could create a vibrant secondary resource market, trigger investment in packaging and recovery systems and let the oceans thrive.