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A new study has revealed that the major culprit behind Earth's polluted oceans are the world's river systems.
Map highlights the areas the contribute the most plastic to the ocean The Ocean Cleanup Project has estimated that there is up to 5 trillion pounds of plastic in the sea, and two-thirds of it comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers - 67% of the global total.
The team had also noted that the pollution costs at least $8 billion (7.1 billion euros) in damage to marine ecosystems and killing an estimated one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and untold numbers of fish.
The Ocean Clean up estimates that their passive ocean cleaning method would remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a huge area in the ocean where swirling currents concentrate trash - in 5 years, at the fraction of the cost of traditional methods such as vessels and nets.
The system uses floating hard-walled barriers made of a durable, recyclable material.
The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation developing new technologies for ridding the oceans of plastic—say rivers carry an estimated 2 trillion to 5 trillion pounds of plastic into the sea every year, an amount that needs between 48,000 to over 100,000 dump trucks to be carried away.'It has been estimated that between 10 and 27 trillion pounds of plastic enters the ocean every year from coastal populations worldwide,' reads the published study in the journal Science.'Plastics within coastal areas however do not only enter the oceans through rivers.
It can also reach oceans by other processes such as direct littering near beaches, followed by tidal or wind transport.'The team had also noted that the pollution costs at least billion (7.1 billion euros) in damage to marine ecosystems and killing an estimated one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and untold numbers of fish.
The rest are from a combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million pounds per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million pounds per year), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million pounds per year) and Progo (28 million pounds per year), are all large contributors.
The rest of the world shared the remaining 14 percent of plastic pollution via rivers, researchers said.'Most of this river plastic input is coming from Asia, which emphasizes the need to focus on monitoring and mitigation efforts in Asian countries with rapid economic development and poor waste management,' they said.
Besides going out to sea, plastics from around the world have made a home in an uninhabited Pacific island (pictured).
More than 37 million bits of plastic junk – weighing some 34,000 pounds (17 tonnes) - have washed up on its shores More than 37 million bits of plastic junk – weighing some 34,000 pounds (17 tonnes) - have washed up on its shores, threatening the island's wildlife.
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