Ocean pollution: Creating Orphan Plastic with Mismanagement

Today, life below water is endangered due to a growing threat: marine litter. Studies have shown that pollution in oceans is composed of 80% from land-based sources, and 20% from sea-based sources. From this pollution, we know that up to 80% is post-consumer plastic. But why?

High-level of plastic production causes ocean pollution

During the last 70 years, global plastic production has enormously increased: from 1.5 million tons in 1950, to 368 million tons in 2019.

Plastic production

In the meantime, our capacity to process, treat, recycle materials that can be recycle, didn’t evolve as fast. We also have to acknowledge that the problem comes from the fact that most of the plastic materials today can’t be recycled.

Countries all over the world are still struggling to handle the large amount of non-recyclable waste due to lack of treatment possibilities. Moreover, some developed countries decided to send their waste to developing countries, that could supposedly take care of it. But the reality was different, it has been reported that this waste ended up in the environment creating illegal landfills.

All these factors combined with rapid urbanization in coastal area where mismanagement largely occurs, end up contributing to marine plastic pollution.


Thanks to a large collection of data around the world, The Ocean Cleanup succeeded to release a world map of mismanagement. We can notice that the South East Pacific Asia region is currently the one that contributes the most to marine plastic pollution.

mismanaged plastic waste map

Here is the top 5 countries contributing to marine plastic pollution:

1. China
2. Indonesia
3. Philippines
4. Thailand
5. Vietnam

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