If this report noted in the Mail is correct:
A shocking study has revealed 90 per cent of the world’s plastic waste comes from just 10 rivers in Asia and Africa.
As governments around the world rush to address the global problem of plastic pollution in the oceans, researchers have now pinpointed the river systems that carry the majority of it out to sea.
About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources – such as the Yangtze and the Ganges – could almost halve it, scientists claim.
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.
I don’t interpret that as saying that the U. S. is off the hook. We’re enormously overwrapped, overpackaged, and we don’t recycle nearly enough. But it also suggests to me even if the U. S. didn’t produce any plastic waste at all there would still be a problem and it’s a problem that follows a pattern.
What struck me most about this article is how much of our policy and politics as it relates to the rest of the world is based on some combination of patronization, romanticism, and nostalgia. Any country that throws over a billion pounds of plastic into a single river isn’t a poor country any more. It’s a wasteful middle class country.