The figure places Indonesia second only to China, with its 8.8 million tons of waste, or 27 percent of global plastic waste. About 1.3 million to 3.5 million tons of China’s plastic waste ends up in the ocean.
The study found that around 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans every year, or, as the report mentions, enough plastic to cover an area 34 times the size of Manhattan with an ankle-deep layer. It is also the total amount of plastic waste produced globally in 1961.
Researchers said that there could be even more waste in the ocean, since the estimated 8 tons only came from coastal populations in 192 countries.
The research team, led by Jenna Jamback from the University of Georgia, estimated that people who lived within about 50 kilometers of the coast produced around 275 million tons of plastic in the year 2010. Approximately 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of that ended up in the ocean.
Jambeck and colleagues composed a list of 20 countries that dumped the most plastic waste into the ocean. The US ranked 20th, dumping 300,000 tons of plastic in the ocean.
The 10 biggest marine polluters (by millions of tonnes of plastic waste dumped in the ocean each year) are: China 8.8; Indonesia 3.2; The Philippines 1.9; Vietnam 1.8; Sri Lanka 1.6; Thailand 1.0; Egypt 1.0; Nigeria 0.9; Malaysia 0.9; and, Bangladesh 0.8