Informe impactant revela que el 95% del plàstic que contamina els oceans del món prové de només deu rius incloent el Ganges i el Níger

Els científics han analitzat dades de contaminació de plàstic a partir de 79 llocs de mostreig al llarg de 57 rius. Els seus resultats van mostrar que 10 rius generen la major part del plàstic. Vuit d’aquests són a Àsia Oriental.

Fins al 95 per cent del contaminant plàstic dels oceans del món provenen de deu rius, segons una nova investigació. Els 10 rius més importants (vuit dels quals són a Àsia) generen tants plàstics a causa de la mala gestió dels residus. 

Dades importants per explicar aquestes circumstàncies:

Es venen un milió d’ampolles de plàstic cada minut
Es van vendre 480.000 milions d’ampolles de plàstic el 2016
Es retiraran 538 milions d’ampolles de plàstic cada any abans de 2021
Es reciclen menys de la meitat de les ampolles de plàstic
Fins a 13 milions de tones de plàstic entren al mar cada any

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The top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste

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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

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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 top 10 rivers – eight of which are in Asia – accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste

His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers – both microplastic particles measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size.

They said microplastics in particular can damage the health of marine life but cleaning it all up would be impossible. However stemming the tide could help reduce the potential harm.

Dr Schmidt said to do this, researchers need a better understanding of how plastic makes its way into the oceans in the first place.

The study shows the top 10 rivers, including the River Indus (pictured) accounted for 88 to 95 per cent of the total global load because of the mismanagement of waste

The study shows the top 10 rivers, including the River Indus (pictured) accounted for 88 to 95 per cent of the total global load because of the mismanagement of waste

THERE WILL BE MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH IN THE SEA BY 2050

The amount of plastic rubbish in the world’s oceans will outweigh fish by 2050 unless the world takes drastic action to further recycle, a report released in 2016 revealed.

Researchers warned eight million tonnes of plastics currently find their way into the ocean every year – the equivalent of one truckload every minute.

At current rates, this will worsen to four truckloads per minute in 2050 and outstrip native life to become the largest mass inhabiting the oceans.

An overwhelming 95 per cent of plastic packaging – worth £65 – £92billion – is lost to the economy after a single use, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation report stated.

And available research estimates that there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean today.

Rivers which flow from inland areas to the seas are major transporters of plastic debris but the concentration patterns aren’t well known.

The findings could help fill in this knowledge gap.

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the ‘mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.’

He said: ‘The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.’

The study follows a recent report that pointed the finger at China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for spewing out most of the plastic waste that enters the seas.

The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more – about 1.2 billion pounds.

A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

Previous research has also suggested two-thirds of plastic comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers. But Dr Schmidt reckons this can be narrowed down even further.

He said: ‘The rivers with the highest estimated plastic loads are characterised by high population – for instance the Yangtze with over half a billion people.

‘These rivers are also in countries with a high rate of mismanaged plastic waste (MMPW) production per capita as a result of a not fully implemented municipal waste management including waste collection, dumping and recycling.

Previous research has also suggested two-thirds of plastic comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers. But Dr Schmidt reckons this can be narrowed down even further (stock image)

Previous research has also suggested two-thirds of plastic comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers. But Dr Schmidt reckons this can be narrowed down even further (stock image)

OUR SHOCKING PLASTIC ADDICTION

  • One million plastic bottles are  sold every minute
  • 480 billion plastic bottles were sold in 2016
  • 538 billion plastic bottles will be thrown away every year by 2021
  • Fewer than half of plastic bottles are recycled
  • Up to 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the sea every year

‘The data shows large rivers are particular efficient in transporting plastic debris. Large rivers like the Yangtze transport a higher fraction of the MMPW that is generated in their catchments than smaller rivers.

‘These three factors lead to the estimated concentration of most of the plastic load to large rivers with a large population living in their catchment.

‘Countries with high MMPW generation such as China or India could greatly reduce the plastic pollution of rivers by implementing proper waste management.

‘In industrial countries, although they have a well developed waste management infrastrcuture, one way for plastic waste entering the environment is littering.’

His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers - both microplastic particles (pictured) measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size

His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers – both microplastic particles (pictured) measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size

Pollution costs more than £6 billion ($7.9 billion) in damage to marine ecosystems and kills an estimated one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and untold numbers of fish.

Dr Schmidt said: ‘Pollution of the marine environment with plastic debris is widely recognised and is of increasing ecological concern because of the chemical persistence of plastics and their mechanical fragmentation to so-called microplastics which can be ingested by even small organisms such as zooplankton.

‘Beyond the long recognised occurrence of plastic debris in the marine environment plastic debris has been more recently detected in freshwater environments and can be found even in pristine, remote locations.’

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