Ganga second-most polluting river in world; China's Yangtze tops the list
Ganga,the sacred river to Hindus, has been found to be the second-most polluting river in the world, discharging 115,000 tonnes of plastic each year, as per a recent study.
The researchers at The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation developing new technologies for ridding the oceans of plastic, found that rivers carry an estimated 1.15-2.41 million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year. That means we'd require between 48,000 to over 100,000 dump trucks to remove all the trash from the ocean.
Plastic that's dumped in the rivers ends up in the world's oceans, becoming a major source of marine pollution. And Asian countries are are the biggest contributors when it comes to polluting our waterways.
The study added that two-thirds of the pollution comes from the 20 most polluting rivers, with majority of them in Asia.
"Most of this river plastic input is coming from Asia, which emphasises the need to focus on monitoring and mitigation efforts in Asian countries with rapid economic development and poor waste management," the researchers said.
The Yangtze River in China - the world's third-longest river - topped the list, dumping some 330,000 tonnes of plastic into the East China Sea.
The list is followed by the Ganges River in India and a combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas, Solo, Serayu and Progo.
Also known as the Ganges or the mother Ganga, it is worshipped by Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of India's 1.3 billion people. The Ganga river is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. In 2007, the Ganges was ranked as the fifth most polluted river of the world.
The rest of the world shared the remaining 14 percent of plastic pollution via rivers, The Ocean Cleanup researchers added.
The researchers, however, issued a disclaimer saying "there is very little data to document these assumptions and thoroughly verify the validity of their model.
Every year, more than eight million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean, costing at least $8 billion (7.1 billion euros) in damage to marine ecosystems and killing an estimated one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and untold numbers of fish.
The latest study has been published in Nature Communications journal