The Dark Wa­ters of Asia

A re­cent study on the amount of plas­tic pol­lut­ing our oceans re­vealed that close to 80 per­cent of the pol­lu­tion comes from rivers in Asia. Asian Diver takes a look at the cause and ef­fects of the pol­lu­tion and what ef­forts are be­ing made to solve it

Asian Diver (English) - - Contents - By UW360

The an­cient Greeks be­lieved that there are six main rivers that flow from the liv­ing world into the Un­der­world. Like the river Styx flow­ing from Fe­neos, Greece, into the dark bow­els of Hades, some rivers that once pro­vided food, wa­ter, trans­port and trade to all liv­ing crea­tures have now turned dark – trans­port­ing waste from the cities to the oceans, and with it, death and dis­ease.

Ac­cord­ing to a study in Novem­ber 2017 con­ducted by the HelmholtzCen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­search (UFZ) in Leipzig, Ger­many, about eight mil­lion met­ric tonnes of plas­tic de­bris are car­ried into the sea by large rivers ev­ery year. Ac­cord­ing to the UFZ re­port, up to 95 per­cent of the plas­tic pol­lut­ing the world’s seas and oceans comes from just 10 river sys­tems. Among these 10 rivers, eight are in Asia. Five of these filth­i­est rivers are in China alone: Yangtze River (rank­ing 1st), Yel­low River (3rd), Hai River (4th), Pearl River and Amur River. In sec­ond place is the In­dus River, while the holy Ganges River takes 6th place. The Mekong River, which runs through China and five coun­tries in South­east Asia, takes the tenth spot.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Chris­tian Sch­midt, a hy­dro­ge­ol­o­gist at UFZ, a large pro­por­tion of ma­rine plas­tic de­bris orig­i­nates from land-based sources, with the rivers trans­port­ing these de­bris into the sea. Re­searchers are, how­ever, hope­ful that re­duc­ing the plas­tic waste by half can be achieved sim­ply by col­lect­ing and re­cy­cling it.

Up to 95 per­cent of the plas­tic pol­lut­ing the world’s seas and oceans comes from

just 10 river sys­tems


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