1,000 rivers around the world have been found to contribute 80% of the plastic pollution in the oceans, a range of 800,000 to 2.7 million metric tons per year.
A new study has found that the old assumption that large continental rivers were the main culprits, a new model has shown that a mix of small and medium rivers are the more significant polluters.
This study was conducted by The Ocean Cleanup, the company famous here for the Klang River cleaning project.
It collected data over three years (from 2017-2020) using 136 field measurements, representing 67 rivers in 14 countries across three continents.
In October 2019, the Interceptor 002 was placed in the Klang river as the result of the first collaboration between The Ocean Cleanup and the Selangor state government.
The Interceptor 002 has been able to pull over 30 metric tonnes of trash a month from the river.
Between 2016 and 2020, the amount of debris extracted from Klang River by the initiative has reached 67,000 MT — approximately the weight of 13,500 adult Asian elephants.
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit that uses advanced technology to remove plastic from rivers and oceans.
The study mentioned that 454 ‘very small’ rivers contribute 25 percent of emissions, while 360 small rivers make up 24 percent of emissions.
162 medium rivers are responsible for 22 percent of emissions, while 18 large and six ‘very large’ rivers contribute to two percent and one percent of plastic emissions respectively.
Other rivers of varying sizes contribute to 26 percent of the pollution.
The top five plastic-emitting countries are all located in Asia; Philippines, India, Malaysia, China, and Indonesia.
They are also responsible for 79.7 percent of the plastic that finds its way into the oceans.