Plastic pollution is one of the world's most pressing ecological problems. Over 17 billion pounds of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year, killing over 100,000 marine mammals, a million sea birds and threatening the entire aquatic eco-system.
Humans may be the origin of plastic pollution, but we are also its victims. When microplastics are ingested by marine animals and it winds up on our dinner plates, it can potentially lead to numerous health issues including various cancers, a weakened immune system and birth defects, according to The Washington Post. One of the most common ways that plastic reaches the ocean is through rivers. Studies show that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of plastic are deposited into the oceans by rivers each year. Twenty of the world's 40,760 ocean-bound rivers, mostly in Asia, have been found responsible for two-thirds of the global plastic input.
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