Plastic waste in remote Atlantic island comes from ships: Report

New research has found plastic trash, mostly from Chinese merchant ships, has been washing up on Inaccessible Island which is off the coast of South America.

    2019/10/03

NSFW    INACCESSIBLE ISLAND — A new report has found a 15 percent increase of plastic waste on a remote Atlantic island called Inaccessible Island, and it's likely being dumped by Chinese merchant ships.

The researchers examined plastic bottles that washed ashore on the island in 1984, 2009 and in 2018. Most of the plastic waste that drifted to the island during the 1980s was from South America, according to their findings.

In 2009, plastic debris from Asia surpassed the amount of plastic waste from South America, and by the year 2018, researchers said, 75 percent of the plastic debris originated from Asia, with most made in China.

Around 90 percent of the bottles discovered by researchers had been manufactured in the past two years. This means the plastic could not have been carried by ocean currents from Asia as that would take roughly three to five years to wash ashore.

This indicates that marine merchant ships dispose of plastic bottles into the ocean rather than disposing it at trash cans at ports, AFP reports, citing the study.

The authors noted that the number of Chinese marine ships has steadily increased in the Atlantic Ocean since the 1990s.

Peter Ryan, one of the authors involved with the study, told AFP that the plastic waste is not coming from land, adding that, "It's inescapable that it's from ships."

More than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every single year, 50 percent of which are single use plastics, according to non-profit organization Plastic Oceans.
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