Trash in the rivers - get off our case, zookeepers!

Posted On: Saturday - August 24th 2019 8:34PM MST
In Topics: 
  Treehuggers  China  Environmental Stupidity  Geography

Off a tweet by a commenter named Dave Pinsen on an iSteve thread, I'd like to post a follow-up to Peak Stupidity's "Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo..." of a year ago last spring. If you recall, I was very annoyed that we had to be harangued by a treehugger zookeeper about plastic in the rivers THE ENTIRE TIME that we got to watch the sea lions and seals get fed.

The tweet in question here flew away somehow like a little birdie, but the article it linked to is Just 10 streams carry 95% of all river-borne plastic into the ocean (from a site called BigThink). Here's a nice map from that site, showing these 10 rivers that are conveyors of the most plastic garbage to the ocean:

I like the article because it's not preachy. It just gives a bunch of facts with the numbers.
Every year, plastic kills around 1 million seabirds, 100,000 sea mammals and inestimable numbers of fish. The volume of plastic trash in the world’s oceans is currently estimated to be around 150 million tons. No less than eight million tons are added to that every year—that’s one truckload every minute. Between 0.5 and 2.75 million tons come from rivers alone.
I'll give these German environmental scientists (note, these are REAL scientists) credit for not giving precision that's not backed up by accuracy. Firstly, even at the high end, only 30% or so of the plastic in the ocean comes out of the world's rivers. Who's dumping the rest of the plastic trash into the ocean, and where?

Per the article, of those 10 rivers on the map, 4 of which flow solely through China, the Yangtze River that goes west-to-east through the center of the Middle Kingdom carries more trash than all the other 10 rivers. That means a lot when you also read that the rest of the world's rivers combined barely equal to one of the number 2 or 3 rated of these worst plastic-carrying rivers. In other words, the Yangtze is mostly to blame for this river-borne plastic trash polluting the oceans, and the zoo lady should have just shut her damn mouth and let us watch the seals and sea lions in peace. The next time she's got something to say, it damn well ought to be in Chinese!

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