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China is throwing more trash in the ocean after an effort to stop dumping waste in their rivers

Annie Kin

Following a government drive to stop dumping trash into the country’s rivers, the amount of plastic being dumped in China’s coastal waters has sharply increased.


China is considered the world leader in goods produced for export.

Over 52,000 gallons of estimated waste was seen floating off the coast of China last year. This was up 27 percent from 2017, according to statistics from the environmental ministry. This is the highest that the country has seen in the last 10 years.

The delta regions of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers are seeing the highest levels of dumping. These are both major industrial zones on the east coast.


“At the moment, there are some clear problems with the work on the marine ecological environment, with some regions not showing a lot of awareness or paying sufficient attention, and lacking strong initiative and dedication,” said Huo Chuanlin, deputy director of the ministry’s marine environment department.


“China is the biggest producer and exporter of plastic products, accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s total, but that doesn’t mean China is a major marine plastic polluting country,” he said.

Others disagree.


Environmental groups have expressed concern that is a desperate effort to clean up its rivers, China has begun dumping waste into the ocean.


Scientists say China is the world’s leading generator of plastic waste. In a study published in May, researchers at Tianjin University stated that China’s “massive impact on the plastic levels of the ocean” was “a definite cause of concern” with “multiple economic, environmental and biological complications.”


An average of 53 pounds of floating waste per 11,000 square feet of surface seawater in China’s offshore waters last year. Most of that was plastic, the ministry said.


Plastic is also the leading polluter below the surface of the water, with copious amounts being found on the seabed.

Unfortunately, the ocean doesn’t seem to be getting a break anytime soon.

In an effort to improve the country’s interior cities, polluting industries like steel and petrochemicals are being moved to the coast.

Following a government drive to stop dumping trash into the country’s rivers, the amount of plastic being dumped in China’s coastal waters has sharply increased.


The problem, however, is not China’s alone.

In 2016, China was importing 7 million tons of trash from around the world. The US alone was sending over 700,000 tons of trash to China.


China is considered the world leader in goods produced for export.

Over 52,000 gallons of estimated waste was seen floating off the coast of China last year. This was up 27 percent from 2017, according to statistics from the environmental ministry. This is the highest that the country has seen in the last 10 years.


The delta regions of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers are seeing the highest levels of dumping. These are both major industrial zones on the east coast.


“At the moment, there are some clear problems with the work on the marine ecological environment, with some regions not showing a lot of awareness or paying sufficient attention, and lacking strong initiative and dedication,” said Huo Chuanlin, deputy director of the ministry’s marine environment department.


“China is the biggest producer and exporter of plastic products, accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s total, but that doesn’t mean China is a major marine plastic polluting country,” he said.

Others disagree.


Environmental groups have expressed concern that is a desperate effort to clean up its rivers, China has begun dumping waste into the ocean.


Scientists say China is the world’s leading generator of plastic waste. In a study published in May, researchers at Tianjin University stated that China’s “massive impact on the plastic levels of the ocean” was “a definite cause of concern” with “multiple economic, environmental and biological complications.”


An average of 53 pounds of floating waste per 11,000 square feet of surface seawater in China’s offshore waters last year. Most of that was plastic, the ministry said.


Plastic is also the leading polluter below the surface of the water, with copious amounts being found on the seabed.

Unfortunately, the ocean doesn’t seem to be getting a break anytime soon.

In an effort to improve the country’s interior cities, polluting industries like steel and petrochemicals are being moved to the coast.


While many want to blame this problem on China, given their status of mass export production and importer of other country’s trash, it’s clear to see this is a global problem that is another symptom of the culture of consumption.


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