Rivers - Key Contributor of Ocean Plastic Waste

Source of Ocean Plastics

Plastics are increasingly used in a wide variety of applications because of their durability and low cost. In 2019, the production of plastics totaled around ~368 million tons worldwide.

Due to the low-recycling rates, poor waste management and maritime use, a significant portion of the plastics produced worldwide enters and persists in the oceans.

Rivers - Plastics Carrying Vehicle

  • 1.2 and 2.4 million tons of plastics are estimated to flow from the global riverine system into the oceans every year.

  • The top 20 polluting rivers account for more than 2/3 of the global annual input. Furthermore, the top 122 polluting rivers contribute >90% of the plastic inputs, with 103 rivers located in Asia.

  • Majority of the river plastic originates from Asia, representing  86% of the global total, followed by Africa at 8% and South America at 5%.

  • River plastic pollution regions, such as Asia, cast high risk to the world of polluting rivers and oceans. The major cause is the inadequate waste management infrastructure and solutions.