Environment

Plastic Free July: How much plastic waste is dumped into the ocean?

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Photo: Pixabay/tkremmel

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July 14, 2021

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July 14, 2021

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The top 15 countries generating the most plastic waste in the world together dump the equivalent weight of 2,403 blue whales of plastic into the ocean each year. While the United States is the world’s biggest generator of plastic waste, India is responsible for dumping the largest amounts of plastics into the ocean, according to a research by British packaging company Raja.

The US generates 42 million tons of plastic waste per year, and India dumps 126,500 tons of plastics into the ocean, according to the research unveiled on the occasion of Plastic Free July.

Plastic Free July, launched in 2011 in Australia, is now a global campaign, with millions of people taking part every year and many committing to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July.

India, China, and Indonesia are the top three culprits for ocean plastic waste

When it comes to plastic waste that ends up in the ocean, China is the second biggest culprit, with 70,700 tons, followed by Indonesia, which is throwing 56,300 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, equivalent to almost 18% of the global population of bottlenose dolphins in the wild.

Next comes Brazil, with nearly 38,000 tons of plastic waste dumped into the ocean per year, which is equal to the weight of 278 blue whales. The remaining countries on the top 10 list are Thailand, Mexico, Egypt, the US, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The research aims to encourage swapping plastic products for more environmentally-friendly alternatives

The research was commissioned with the aim of stressing the importance of recycling plastic products and swapping them out for more environmentally-friendly alternatives, and in order to highlight the impact of plastic waste on the environment, Raja said.

Tips to cut down on your own plastic consumption

The company also offers tips to reduce plastic consumption in everyday life, such as swapping single-use coffee cups and water bottles for reusable ones, using bar soap instead of liquid soap packaged in plastic containers, and making your own food instead of buying meals wrapped in plastic.

In the European Union (EU) single-use plastic products, such as straws, beverage cups, cutlery, bags, balloons, and polystyrene food containers, make up 70% of all marine litter. In an effort to ban such products, the bloc has adopted the Directive on single-use plastics, setting a July 3, 2021 deadline for member states to apply it. However, only a few EU countries had done so in time.

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