From drink bottles to tobacco sachets, UN study traces plastic pollution hot spots in the Mekong and Ganges

Municipal trash dumped at an open landfill in Thailand risks filling a nearby tributary of the Mekong river with plastic waste whenever it is rainy or windy.

Along India’s Ganges river, small sachets that used to wrap chewing tobacco are abundant, but are difficult to collect and dispose.

A United Nations study tracing the origins of plastic pollution has identified key leakage hotspots in Asia. Plugging these gaps require not just broad-based bans on certain plastic products, but also policies that target sources of plastic pollution specific to each region, say researchers.

“Our plastic leakage hotspot looks quite different from the globally commonly known ones,” Ms Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, United Nations Environment Programe (UNEP) regional coordinator for chemicals, waste and air quality said on Thursday (May 28). She leads the Japan-funded study titled Promotion of Countermeasures Against Marine Plastic Litter in South East Asia and India. 

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Tan Hui Yee