5 Asian Countries That Dump More Plastic In The Ocean Than The Rest Of The World

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The large populations living in the vast Asian cities have already been creating pressure on their local ecosystems. However, the rivers have become an exceptionally important concern now. Indonesia is home to the river with the world's most pollution, the Citarum River.

5 Asian Countries That Dump More Plastic In The Ocean Than The Rest Of The World

Pablo Hidalgo


The large populations living in the vast Asian cities have already been creating pressure on their local ecosystems. However, the rivers have become an exceptionally important concern now. Indonesia is home to the river with the world's most pollution, the Citarum River. The condition of the river is so horrible that the military was called to expedite the clean- up of the plastic dumped in the river and to make sure that steps are taken to curb further dumping. The river has surprisingly turned black beyond recognition.


Sadly, however, this isn’t one singular incidence of river pollution in the Asian continent. Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China dump more waste plastic into the oceans than all other countries in our planet combine, and that must stultify all of us and provoke collective outrage.


Plastic chokes aquatic life and seabirds. It ends up in our food in the form of Microplastics that ocean critters end up consuming. And it takes several decades to decompose. Thankfully, however, there’s still hope, all we need to do is cut down on our plastic consumption. But some steps can be taken.


Plastic water bottles are a sign of wealth and status in Asia as it’s considered that bottled water is safer than filtered. The city of Hong Kong consumes approximately 5.1 million plastic bottles of water every single day. Yet, a Swedish brand, Bluewater is looking to bring about a change in this habit of people with energy efficient filtration systems. It plans to augment the penetration of clean filtered water and quash the bottled water stereotype. Anders Jacobson, the CEO of Bluewater says that good tasting water can be consumed sustainably. The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s iconic hotel is trying to make a move by serving its guests in-house purified and filtered Nordaq water. The guests will have access to water filters at the lobby and the guest rooms where they can refill according to their wants. The GM of Mandarin Oriental says the initiative is proof that luxury and sustainability aren’t exclusive of one another.


Considering street food vendors or the food-delivery places in Thailand or Vietnam, eating out is not a green affair by any means. Primarily due to the alarming number of plastic tools which are used. A Hong Kong-based company, The Kommon Goods looks to change that through manufacturing eco-friendly products and marketing it to corporations, universities, and hotel chains. The products include reusable cutlery, metal water bottles, bamboo chopsticks, and even metal straws with cleaners. Alvin Li, a co-founder at Kommon and a social advocate says we’re just incredibly used to convenience over everything. The environment doesn’t seem to concern us at all. It can be as easy as simply refusing the extra cutlery provided when you order takeout next time.


It’s estimated that plastic in the ocean is going to outweigh fish by 2050, as per Li.


The 1.66 million tons of household waste Singapore produced in 2018 was mostly packaging waste. It consisted of primarily food packaging and plastic bags. The vast volume of the waste can fill up above a thousand Olympic-size pools, as per News Asia. Plastics are definitely convenient on our end and cost very little money. However, they take a very long time to decompose and end up polluting our oceans. Taiwan intends to ban every single-use plastic item, including beverage cups, cutlery, and bags given by businesses and restaurants by the year 2030, while plastic straws are already banned. In China and Vietnam, beverages and food are usually packed straight into bags made of plastic. It’s convenient and ‘disposable’. Even if the habit may not change in just a day, taking simple steps like using our own food containers can eliminate a large amount of plastic use


Though it isn’t the most glitzy means of spending a day, it’s an immensely meaningful initiative – volunteering for a beach cleaning drive. The One Island One Voice initiative gathered the efforts of over 20,000 people to clean 120 shores in Indonesia’s Bali. Joining big organizations like International Coastal Cleanup is also easy and useful for the environment. Going plastic-free starts with us at home, carrying our own bags while shopping can lower plastic consumption at home significantly.


This journey is a long one, but it sees meaningful initiatives take place. The Indonesian State has set a target of making the Citarum River water drinkable in the next seven years. It’s pertinent that we begin to think about our planet as it is not only our home yet also the home of countless other animals and living things. If we take steps to make the Earth better; these steps will end up helping the ones we’re unconsciously or even consciously harming.

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Thinking Humanity: 5 Asian Countries That Dump More Plastic In The Ocean Than The Rest Of The World
5 Asian Countries That Dump More Plastic In The Ocean Than The Rest Of The World
The large populations living in the vast Asian cities have already been creating pressure on their local ecosystems. However, the rivers have become an exceptionally important concern now. Indonesia is home to the river with the world's most pollution, the Citarum River.
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