The US is one of the world’s biggest sources of plastic pollution

Plastic waste along the shores of Hong Kong

Plastic waste along the shores of Hong Kong. | Photo by Nick Mallos / Ocean Conservancy

The US is responsible for way more of the plastic polluting the world’s oceans than previously thought, a new study reveals. When it comes to the countries that contributed the most to coastal plastic pollution, the US could rank as high as third in the world, it estimates.

“Plastic pollution globally is at crisis level,” says Nick Mallos, senior director of the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program and co-author of the paper published today in the journal Science Advances. “Most problematic is that rather than looking the problem in the eye, for more than 30 years, [the US] outsourced our waste problem to developing countries,” Mallos says.

For years, Asian…

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