China’s Rivers Are the Major Source of Plastic Entering the Oceans

China’s Rivers Are the Major Source of Plastic Entering the Oceans, by Chriss Street.

With 91 percent of the 8.8 million tons of plastic added to oceans each year originating in rivers, the Yangtze and five other Chinese rivers are the dominant polluters. …

The six Chinese rivers on the “top ten” list — the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, the Amur that borders Russia, and the headlands of the Mekong River — account for about 3.8 million tons, or almost half of the world’s plastic flow into the oceans. …

Almost two thirds of new plastic produced is used for commercial purposes with an average life expectancy of about ten years. …

China for decades also provided reprocessing services for about 70 percent of global plastic recycling. … Since most plastic packaging wrap cannot be profitably recycled, much of China’s domestic plastic waste and imported plastic were disposed of by non-regulated “fly-by-night recyclers” that “dumped stuff they couldn’t recycle, causing pollution on land and in waterways” …

Layers of trash floating in the Yangtze River were threatening to jam China’s massive Three Gorges hydroelectric dam, state media reported on Aug. 2.