Those Oceans of Plastic? It’s not us.

Letter to the Editor, at Wattsupwiththat

Those Oceans of Plastic?

We are being lambasted for polluting the World with plastic. But in the same breath we learn that over 90% of the plastic in the sea comes from 10 rivers in Asia and Africa, the 3rd World*.

80% of the petroleum crude that we extract from the earth today is burnt, as LPG, petrol, diesel and JP1, to fly our planes. And where people have cars, nobody, not even Al Gore, will give up on Jumbos and 787s. So, why don’t we also burn the other 20% that goes into plastic and rubber, and let it all add to the greening of the globe? Burnt in high temperature clean combustion boilers in the centre of every city it could generate electricity. That would be very efficient localised electricity that could cut the top off peak loading prices, would not lose 10% in those overly long transmission lines that spoil the view, and doesn’t get to dam up the biology of all our river systems.

We, the developed half of the world. need plastic like never before, and it is us who have the methodology to gather up so much rubbish, and sort it for baby nappies, green waste and food scraps, that could be processed for natural biogas to energy. And, we too can corral all that plastic, all our mixed packaging, our rubber tyres, wood and paper that could be efficiently burnt close to every city.

Read the rest of the letter and some interesting comments over here.

*From Scientific American:

Credit: Amanda Montañez; Source: “Export of Plastic Debris by Rivers into the Sea,” by Christian Schmidt et al., in Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 51, No. 21; November 7, 2017

The results, published November 2017 in Environmental Science & Technology, show that rivers collectively dump anywhere from 0.47 million to 2.75 million metric tons of plastic into the seas every year, depending on the data used in the models.

The 10 rivers that carry 93 percent of that trash are the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, Indus and Ganges Delta in Asia, and the Niger and Nile in Africa. The Yangtze alone dumps up to an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste into the Yellow Sea.