Pollution is increasing every day. Nearly every piece of plastic still exists on Earth, regardless of whether it’s been recycled, broken down into microscopic bits or discarded in the ocean.
And the world keeps producing more of the material — creating 288 million metric tons of it in 2012. About 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of it end up in the oceans in 2010, according to a new estimate published in the journal Science.
That report released Thursday ranks countries that generate the most plastic debris into the oceans, with Asian nations taking 13 out of the top 20 spots.
Using World Bank data on 192 coastal countries, researchers estimated that China, the most populous nation, has the most mismanaged plastic waste per year and also generates the most plastic debris that end up in the ocean at 28%.
Mismanaged waste means the material is littered or not properly disposed of– meaning there isn’t a formally managed waste management system.