Indonesia produced 3.2 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, with around 1.29 million tons of that ending up in the ocean, according to a study published in the journal Science. The figure places Indonesia second only to China, with its 8.8 million tons of waste, or 27 percent of global plastic waste.
About 1.3 million to 3.5 million tons of China's plastic waste ends up in the ocean.
Tempo.co reported that the study found that around 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world's oceans every year, or, as the report mentions, enough plastic to cover an area 34 times the size of Manhattan with an ankle-deep layer. It is also the total amount of plastic waste produced globally in 1961.
Researchers said that there could be even more waste in the ocean, since the estimated 8 tons only came from coastal populations in 192 countries.
The research team, led by Jenna Jamback from the University of Georgia, estimated that people who lived within about 50 kilometers of the coast produced around 275 million tons of plastic in the year 2010. Approximately 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of that ended up in the ocean.
Jambeck and colleagues composed a list of 20 countries that dumped the most plastic waste into the ocean. The US ranked 20th, dumping 300,000 tons of plastic in the ocean.
Experts say without any improvement in waste management, the amount of plastic waste could increase tenfold by 2025. Increasing waste processing by up to 50 percent in the 20 worst offending countries could reportedly reduce ocean waste by 41 percent within 10 years. Improvements in waste processing in the 10 worst offending countries could reportedly reduce plastic waste dumped in the ocean each year by up to 6.4 tons by 2025.
Plastic garbage heaped at the bottom of the sea has been studied by researchers from the Natural History Museum in London. In December 2014, a team led by Lucy Woodall found micro plastic waste accumulated in deep-sea sediments at depths of 3,000 meters.
'Waste in the ocean is a serious problem. There are many pollutants and many more dangers than ever imagined,' said Woodall. 'We must start managing it by reducing, recycling and re-using plastic products.' (liz/bbn)
The 10 biggest marine polluters are:
(By millions of tons of plastic waste dumped in the ocean each year)
1. China 8.8 million tons
2. Indonesia 3.2
3. Philippines 1.9
4. Vietnam 1.8
5. Sri Lanka 1.6
6. Thailand 1.0
7. Egypt 1.0
8. Nigeria 0.9
9. Malaysia 0.9
10. Bangladesh 0.8