Magazine article Geographical

Plastic Flow: Asian Countries Are Pledging to Reduce the Amount of Land-Based Marine Pollution, Especially That Flowing Down Their Larger Rivers

Magazine article Geographical

Plastic Flow: Asian Countries Are Pledging to Reduce the Amount of Land-Based Marine Pollution, Especially That Flowing Down Their Larger Rivers

Article excerpt

Goal 14 of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals pledges to 'Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.'

Accordingly, June's UN Ocean Conference in New York focused on adopting a universal 'Call to Action' to achieve such a pledge, compiling a list of 1,380 varying voluntary commitments made by the 178 UN members in attendance, generally focusing on such targets as protecting coastal ecosystems, addressing illegal fishing, reducing underwater noise, and - crucially - eliminating sources of land-based, plastic marine pollution.

Such pollution is not created equally, with a significant proportion believed to emanate from a select number of large rivers, primarily in Asia. Plastic pollution of rivers is related to human settlement,' explains Dr Christian Schmidt, from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany. It is not necessarily bad waste management that makes rivers such as the Yangtze deliver a lot of plastic, but rather the sheer amount of people that live in the catchment. …

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