It will be a crime to provide plastic straws in California’s mom and pop restaurants (not fast food chains), unless requested, if Gov. J. Brown signs bill A.B. (1884) into law.
We are told this will save the planet from America’s profligate destruction of the environment. It might even help diminish that waste-plastic, small continent floating in the Pacific between Hawaii and California, now measuring about three times the size of France.
While Golden State lawmakers pat themselves proudly, the real reasons for the plastic island, dubbed Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), have been hidden from Americans.
The biggest culprit is abandoned plastic fishing gear, primarily nets, left by commercial operations. This amounts to some 47% of the plastic in the GPGP.
Of the remaining 53%, the following countries are the major contributors to this marine debris, primarily because of poor plastic waste management. List here includes their estimated recent total million metric tons per year (MMT/yr).
- China – 3.53 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Indonesia – 1.29 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Philippines – .75 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Vietnam – .73 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Sri Lanka – .64 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Thailand – .41 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Egypt – .39 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Malaysia – .37 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Nigeria – .34 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Bangladesh – .31 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- South Africa – .25 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- India – .24 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Algeria – .21 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Turkey – .19 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Pakistan – .19 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Brazil – .19 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Burma -.18 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- Morocco – .12 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- North Korea – .12 MMT/yr ocean plastic
- United States – .11 MMT/yr ocean plastic
For gross plastic pollution, no country beats China with 32x as much marine plastic waste as the United States.
The seven Asian nations together total more than 70x the U.S. contribution. Even tiny backward nations like North Korea dump more waste plastic, and Sri Lanka mismanages nearly 6x our total, despite 1/15th the population.
Why is this happening in the Third World and China? The problem is the very high percentage of mismanaged waste produced in these countries. Some 75% of the the total is from uncollected trash and garbage, allowing entrance of plastic and other debris into rivers and the ocean, where it eventually resides in the GPGP.
China mismanages 76% of its waste. Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Burma mismanage in the range of 83% to 89%.
The United States mismanages just 2% of its waste – including plastic straws.
Some of the current obsessive effort to somehow increase our waste management to less than that 2%, should be directed at the true cause of the world’s waste problem, primarily the incompetence of five Asian countries – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – which together are dumping more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined.