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Ten Rivers Contribute Most of the Plastic in the Oceans (2018) (scientificamerican.com)
147 points by ForFreedom 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 118 comments





While reading this I think it's worth taking into account that not all the plastic waste originates in these countries, some of it is western trash sent there for recycling. At one point China was importing more than half of the World's plastic waste.

https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conserv...

And though China has now stopped accepting the West's waste it still house mountains to deal with plus the problem has just shifted to Southeast Asia instead

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/china...


I don't understand how this diminishes the fault of the countries. They took the garbage, got paid for it or profited from the valuable recyclables, then dumped the refuse into the rivers. 50% of the garbage comes from a single river that flows entirely within China.

I understand you can't put the blame on a people as a whole and there are bad actors there, but a sovereign country needs to take responsibility.


Plastic use has to be curtailed at source. If developed countries with lower populations are using many times more plastic than developing countries with larger populations, it is time to look in the mirror.

It is not fair to allow some countries to make decisions based on economics but expect others to be ecologically responsible. Let's see how the US handles its own trash now, since China has stopped importing it.


Let's see how the US handles its own trash now, since China has stopped importing it.

Well, there was a New York Times article a few weeks ago about how the cardboard that used to be shipped to China for recycling is now being recycled domestically into Amazon boxes, and paper mills in Wisconsin are reopening, being retrofitted to handle recycled cardboard, and bringing workers back to run them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/business/cardboard.html


Plastic does not need to be curtailed at source. As long as it ends up in well engineered landfills, there's no problem.

Why don't we put our plastic in landfills then instead of trying to send it out of country?

Serious question. I mean people are acting like the fact that the Chinese government is stamping out the business of exporting trash is a crisis. Is it possible we can just dump it in a landfill?

If so, why not just do that?

If not, ok, then I understand why everyone is up in arms.


Because everyone recycles these days and it's politically unacceptable to see recyclable materials in the landfill - even if it's cheaper to produce new ones.

In honesty, burying undigestible plastics seems like a great way for carbon sequestration.


That's actually where most of the curbside recycling ends up now though - in the landfill. People can still feel good that the plastic container they carefully washed out and placed in the recycle bin like a good citizen is being recycled, but generally it's just going straight into the dump and buried with the rest of the trash, and they wasted even more resources (water) cleaning it out thinking they were doing something good.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/climate/recycling-landfil...

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/china...


> Because everyone recycles these days

That's just it though, isn't it? They don't, really.

My understanding of the "crisis" is that all those well-intentioned recyclers were duly sorting their plastics, which was then picked up by their municipality for "recycling" and then shipped straight to a developing country where it was just dropped on the ground. And everyone felt good about themselves, and nothing was done.

Had recycling not been turned into an "out of sight, out of mind" problem, this whole thing could have been averted and some kind of actual clean disposal or reduction implemented.


In addition, recall that due to some US areas' mandate of "clean garbage" occupying some proportion of landfills, some of the clean recyclables also get dumped in landfills.

I've wondered for quite some time exactly why we don't sequester carbon in this way. Is it really just "we should recycle"? Or is there another (I hate the term but perhaps more "steelmanned") argument for it?

I'm not claiming you're caricaturing the argument, to be clear--I'm just curious if there's another angle to consider.


That's not how sequestration works unless they were burning the plastic before.

Why would you do that, releasing carbon into the air? A PVC or PET container is about half carbon by weight and won't decompose in the next thousand years or so we're told.

Right. So its already sequestered as plastic whether its in the ocean or a landfill. Creating new plastic from oil and then reburying it doesn't sequestrate any more carbon.

But if oil resources are nearing depletion, plastic production diverts crude from being burned as fuel, and pushes it's price up since plastics have a much higher economic value.

> Why don't we put our plastic in landfills then instead of trying to send it out of country?

Because some countries take a lot less money to - supposedly and according to their word - do that job cleanly for us.

We know that in fact they are probably lying, but it is quite difficult to do business like that. If we refused to make business with those countries on that basis, we would be accused of discrimination.


But what countries are taking this trash?

I mean, isn't the entire crisis that China does not take the trash anymore?

So if we have all this trash, why can't we just put it in a landfill?


Because people make money moving it.

At some point in the past, someone proposed that we send plastic overseas for recycling. Win win right?

If any one counter-proposed that it be buried they'd be considered a bad person.


Not just China. Now that plastic is part of the Basel convention, it's going to be more difficult for the US to export its plastic waste anywhere.

We could probably stand to draw down our use of a lot of this plastic stuff around here.

Less single use plastic containers. In fact, less plastic containers period. More metal containers, more glass containers, and yes, you will have to reuse them. More recycled paper, etc etc etc.

Oh yeah, and our kids don't really need all these plastic toys we buy them. Maybe it wouldn't be a terrible thing for them to have to go outside and play like we did?

Just those two right there would probably make a small bu meaningful dent. Probably a lot of other places we could draw down as well.


Stop trying to blame consumers--consumer products only make up ~10% of plastics[1].

[1] http://theconversation.com/the-world-of-plastics-in-numbers-..., https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782/tab-fig...


Based on your first link, I'd re-interpret the bar chart titled "What are plastics used for?" to imply that consumer products actually make up a much higher percentage of plastics.

My assumptions are that packaging for consumer products ends up in the "packaging" bar and not the "consumer products" bar, and that plastic-based consumer textiles similarly end up under "textiles" and not "consumer products", and probably something similar happening with stuff hiding inside the "other" bar.

And yeah, I do think that we as consumers should take some responsibility. I would like to some regulatory action or excise taxes, sure. But, even without that, I can still at least try and put some demand-side pressure on things by, for example, preferentially choosing products that aren't in plastic packaging. Or even avoiding making a purchase altogether when it's not necessary to do so and my only options come in disposable plastic containers.


Oh yeah, and our kids don't really need all these plastic toys we buy them. Maybe it wouldn't be a terrible thing for them to have to go outside and play like we did?

Sure, I played outside a lot as a kid, but I also had plenty of plastic toys, too.

(Note: born in the early 1970s)


I guess I gave away my age there didn't I?

Exactly. All the plastic shit made in China can end up back in China.

So, does selling their externalities to poorer nations absolve a rich nation of their responsibility?

China has the second largest GDP of any nation in the world. I think it's safe to say they are not poor.

China presents itself as a rich nation when it suits its purposes.

China presents itself as a poor nation when it suits its purposes.


what does it mean to be poor? Economic output of an entire country? Or per capita. When measured by the latter, I can ensure you, China has a shit ton of poor people... greater than the population of the U.S.

Even measured per capita, they're about a third of a way from the top of the list. They have lots of high tech industry, nuclear weapons, etc. They can definitely afford to keep the rivers clean, it's a policy choice not an economic one. They are not poor in any meaningful sense of the word, being taken advantage of by the US and EU to dump our trash on.

I don't know where you heard that at man, but China is not poor. At all. I mean that place is the opposite of poor.

I've been to poor countries. Cuba is poor for instance. Or Guinea. China? Not so much.


China is spending trillions in foreign aid.

Why do you think GDP is a good measure of wealth?

What would you propose that is better? In any measure they're above the median in wealth. Poorer than the most advanced Western nations, yes. Too poor to keep their rivers clean? Hardly.

Depending on what you are actually trying to find out, you may also need to look into how that wealth is distributed. GDP doesn't mean much for most if 99.9% of that wealth is just owned by .01% of the population. Cost of living is also significant. Plus there are other externalities. How much use is it being rich if you can't step outside because the air is so polluted? Does the population have to work on average 80 hours a week to achieve that GDP? How much corruption is there? etc..

But of course, if you are trying to find out if they can afford to clean up their rivers, GDP is probably a fairly good measure..

GDP tells you precisely nothing about where a country's wealth is going, who it is going to or even anything about the well-being of its people.

GDP may as well be simply a measure of how much richer the rich are getting.


It depends on whether the poorer nation misrepresented what it would do with the trash.

After a few decades of exported plastic trash ending up in the oceans being common knowledge it doesn't matter whether the handling was initially misrepresented. At best it's willful ignorance, but let's not pretend people have been sending plastic trash to China under the assumption that it would be dealt with responsibly.

[flagged]


Flip over any plastic doo-dad; where is it now? Who bought it? Who decided that we'd rather get these things from China than manufacture them here according to our environmental standards and regulations?

A poorer nation probably will misrepresent what they do with the trash.

The sellers can't in all honestly claim they didn't know this would be the result.


was there ever any illusion what poorer nations would do with the trash?

This is the "How was I supposed to know the guns I sold would kill people?" defense

Or the "How was I supposed to know the car I sold would be used to run over a crowd of people?" defence

What do you propose, that we stop doing any business with a poorer nation if we suspect they will somehow behave badly - according to our standards - while carrying out the task?

Are you looking at this from a western perspective? Is China really poor? I would question that.

don't buy it if you don't want it

Who said it does?

You don't get to throw your dog's shit on the neighbour yard and complain when he throws it on the sidewalk.

edit: so what do you do when a contract is breached for years ? Find a solution or point the finger while closing your eyes on the issue because you know there is no other cost effective way to take care of the problem ?


If you paid your neighbor to dispose of your dog's shit and he throws it on the sidewalk you have a pretty good basis for complaining.

That's going to depend on the details of the contract. Which is the problem. Fine print is exactly the reason environmentalists were staunchly opposed to any nation exporting trash for any reason, to any other nation in the first place.

But still, for me, the mere fact that the neighbor said I could throw it on his lawn means that the dog shit shouldn't be in the street. But that's just me, other people may see it different.


Well...

I mean...

if your neighbor said you could throw it on his lawn?

Yes, it's your fault too. I don't think anyone is saying that it's not the fault of the West for example. But come on man? If you say I can dump my dog's shit on your lawn, then yeah, of course that's where I'm going to dump it.


Not if I'm paying my neighbor to take care of it.

Except if you run the actual numbers on that, you'll realize that it's still blatently wrong:

  2010 total plastic marine debris[0]: 4,800k - 12,700k metric tons
  2010 EU plastic marine debris[0]: 50k-120k metric tons (Higher than the US by ~1k)
  2010 EU plastic marine debris percentage[0]: 1%
  2016 EU export of nontoxic garbage to a country in top 10 plastic marine waste[2]: 269,000 tonnes (a lot missing statistics so wide error bars here)
  2015 percent of nontoxic garbage export that is plastic/mixed[1]: ~9%

  Probable amount of EU plastic that gets exported to top 10 country: 26.9k - 53.8k tonnes
  Crude adjusted EU ranking if 100% of the doubled amount makes it into the ocean: ~10th 
  Incredibly crude adjusted EU plastic marine debris percentage: 2%
Netherlands & Germany end up importing most of the EU's garbage [3]

[0]: https://www.iswa.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Calendar_2011_03_... (the footnote of table 1 specifically)

[1]: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php...

[2]: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do (You'll have to screw with the customizations to get useful statistics)

[3]: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/waste/transboundary-waste-...


Can we not use code formatting for non code? It makes comments tedious to read on mobile.

Blame HN for not including a block quote formatting option (which basically every other comment system on the internet has).

> "not all the plastic waste originates in these countries, some of it is western trash sent there for recycling"

I don't see how that makes it any better. Recycled waste certainly shouldn't be ending up in rivers.

We need to reduce our waste, but we should also handle our waste better. Dumping it in rivers is not acceptable.


> Recycled waste certainly shouldn't be ending up in rivers.

Recycling is a pipe dream. In fact it means shipping tones of garbage to 3rd world country and let them do the grunt work. Out of sight out of mind.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/burning-truth-...

https://www.spiegel.de/international/tomorrow/electronic-was...


It depends a lot on the kind of material being recycled. Paper has been getting recycled very effectively for decades. Metals are pretty recyclable. Plastic is notoriously hard, especially the thin plastic from bags, apparently.

Whatever the case, it shouldn't be dumped in rivers.


The export of waste is not the real problem. Your reference says it adds "12 percent to the plastic waste China generates domestically every year". Clearly China has the logistics to put it's own waste into properly designed landfills.

Why doesn't this happen ?


It's cheaper and easier to just dump it into the river.

Recycling / waste management companies have a lot to ask for; they're being paid by local governments (and people) with the idea that they will handle the waste properly and safely - as opposed to dumping it in the river - and they just export it and turn it into someone else's problem?

Of course it's someone else's problem. That's why you're paying someone for the service. We all do that. As you partly recognize, if you legally contract with a company for a service (waste disposal for instance) you don't expect to be liable morally or legally for mis-conduct or failures by the service provider. Why should an exported service be an exception?

Doesn't this assume all service providers are morally and legally good? I would restate the principle as, "you're morally and legally liable for the misdeeds of a service provider with which you've contracted in accordance with the extent to which you can reasonably expected to be aware of their moral and legal practices." But if you assume all companies are legal (else they wouldn't be companies) and that legality implies morality (an absurd belief), then your justification would be spot on. It's a gray area, in my uninformed opinion, and a key question whether Western states could reasonably expected to accurately assess what China would do with their trash

Well knowledge is also a component to it and morality and legality.

To give a black comedy example if you have a friend who is a real fan of Tony Soprano and you ask a look alike to hold a surprise party for you and he is a hitman with a front company instead of an impressionist who takes it as a euphemism to murder them their death - even if you were a negligent idiot is vastly different than you straight up hiring a hitman to kill them.


Unfortunately I find myself agreeing with the critics/cynics here on this one: people are contorting their brains to let China off the hook for what (if this study is to be believed) is a mostly Chinese problem. I don't think the point about China taking US recycling waste is relevant. They're being paid to take the waste and recycle it, not throw it in the ocean.

I don't think anyone would be doing the same if the Hudson River or the Port of Long Beach were the source of most of the plastic in the ocean.

China is also the world's #1 greenhouse gas emitter on a per GDP basis:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_...

Sort by GDP per emissions and China is quite exceptional compared to other large economies and even among developing nations. China just clearly doesn't care at all about the environment, or if the leadership does care they're doing a really poor job of enforcing anything.

It's bizarre to me to hear Western liberals give a free pass to China with its massive and still growing CO2 emissions, internment camps for ethnic minorities, rivers of plastic, and dystopian total surveillance state. I suspect it comes from a knee jerk desire to take the opposite position from Trump and his supporters, but I personally find that to be kind of mindless. Pushing on China is one of the very very few things I agree with them about.


GDP per emission is really a bad measure. It implies that the Earth's atmosphere is owned by the producers of goods.

Emission per capita is much more fair.

China has come a long long way. Fertility is much lower. They are investing heavily in renewables.

And they rarely travel by car or airplane.


It's a measure of energy efficiency, so I think it's a fair measure. Note that China has a much higher emission rate than India, a nation at a similar place in their development. I bring up CO2 emissions simply to point out that the plastic problem isn't an isolated thing. China has major systemic environmental issues.

I agree that China is showing some signs of moving in a better direction environmentally, though they are still building coal plants. That's not my point. My point is that people seem to want to let them off the hook for where they are contributing to major global pollution problems and where they could (easily in this case!) do something about it. How hard would it be to clean up the Yangtze River for the world's second largest economy? It would be much easier than reducing CO2 emissions.


China is in the earlier phase of industrialization where the focus is on escaping poverty/building wealth over a clean environment.

All currently rich countries have gone through this phase, so it's hard to judge them too harshly for this, and they are showing signs of transitioning to the cleanup phase.


Use of disposable plastics is actually _accelerating_ as China develops. The most developed cities are the ones where the most plastics get thrown away.

In Shanghai, for instance, almost everything is delivered. Meals, products, groceries. Every single item is wrapped in layers and layers of disposable plastics. You buy a coconut, it’s wrapped in styrofoam, then wrapped in plastic. This all ends up in the ocean.

A billion plastic bags are thrown away every day in China. This has nothing to do with lack of development, and nothing to do with importing recyclables. It is lack of education, disregard for the environment, and poor government policy wrt recycling and waste reduction.


Or is it that China has much bigger environmental problems with the air itself being extremely toxic for example, that plastic bags are a luxury problem right now?

So why are western countries punishing themselves by putting a ban on certain plastic items such as straws, single-use bags or creating deposit schemes for bottles etc? Sure it would be more effective to call up poor Asian countries and offer to help them clean up that mess. The effect on environment, per dollar spent, will be orders of magnitudes larger than engineering any kind of change in the said western countries.

As has been noted by several other posters, western countries have exported their recyclable trash to China for years. That has pretty much come to a halt, and I don't think it will be long before countries like the US realize just what a mess they have on their hands. Getting rid of single-use plastic now is the best thing we can do.

>Getting rid of single-use plastic now is the best thing we can do.

Is it really? Single-use plastic from western countries is mostly not the plastic found in oceans. So while they were busy implementing these measures, they do not even scratch the surface of the issue. Do the proponents of these ideas care about the environment at all?


Single use plastic bags are the ones that end up on my porch. And on my street. And the lake at the end of my street. And in my local parks. And in the creek down the block. And in the river running through town.

Single use plastic is an eyesore. It's garbage that doesn't stay where it's supposed to.


Consumers won't notice a difference. They'll continue putting their plastic into recycling bins, so it will continue to not end up in the rivers. Unless there are rogue recycling operators who illegally dump the plastic. But that is not in the hands of the consumers.

So the public doesn't have to absorb other externalities like landfills, cleaning storm drains, emissions from manufacture and extraction, etc.

I agree that supporting developing countries develop better waste management practices would be money well spent, like efforts to support their health systems. Poverty, weak governance and lack of prioritization, in that order, are probably the main impediments.


I don't think efficiency, efficacy or even have effects on the correct direction enter on the making of those ideas.

Imho: because Western populations care about environmentalism and don't like to use their power to compel others, even if that would be more efficient. They can do something while not feeling bad when they restrict it in Western nations. I do believe that there's a culture thing as well, the predominantly protestant nations appear to be more eager than the catholic ones.

Projects focusing on the developing or third world will likely be regarded as colonialism, lecturing from a position of power etc, and perception has become more important than correctness or efficiency.


> Imho: because Western populations care about environmentalism and don't like to use their power to compel others, even if that would be more efficient.

Do you really believe western nations don't use their power to compel poorer countries to act in a given way?


I was talking about populations, not nations. The governments very much do, but often not with popular approval (see military engagements to secure economic interests). There's no popular support to pressure poor countries on climate change or pollution. If that existed, I'm sure that Western governments would have no second thoughts about applying pressure.

Because solutions in the form of alternate materials developed to meet Western regulations can then be implemented across the entire world.

Why do western countries try to reduce plastic waste? Because they want to take their responsibility in reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans. Of course other countries should do that too, with help if necessary, but only pointing at other people isn't going to fix this; you need to do your own part too.

I think the parent post's argument was that instead of stopping the usage of plastic straws locally, take the effort spent on that and spend it on helping China, etc. manage their plastics disposal.

I believe it would be more economically expensive to help another nation recycle than to pass a law domestically and ban/fine for certain disposable goods, but as far as work-effort expended, I think you'd get more bang for your buck to work with those that produce the most plastic. Of course, international processes are always harder than domestic ones, and this isn't an exclusive-or style problem.


I think we can do both. There's no reason to consider these things mutually exclusive.

Because per capita consumption of plastic is 5 times higher [1] in the west compared to to other regions and this waste is then exported to poor countries.

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution


It's a case of solving the problem where you can. Reduce your waste because you can't force other countries to do it or to accept your help cleaning up their own. Also bans don't count towards budgets where cleanup programs would.

A municipal government doesn't have a way to impact anything China does. They're stuck between either doing ineffective things like drinking straw bans, or just admitting their helplessness.

On the national politics level it's only almost that bad: we (the US) have very little way to influence what China does with their trash. It might take Trumpish levels of confrontationalism from a Democrat administration to have any impact at all. Sad that candidates aren't taking on this reality... it's much easier to sell a rosy narrative to voters that we can fix everything by making sacrifices at home ala the Green New Deal or somethimg similar.


Only some ecologically responsible cities and states have done this. Everywhere else in the US it is a plastic party!

Virtue signalling, that's why.

Countries aren't really "punishing" themselves. First, it's mostly cities/local groups banning certain plastic. Second, it's not a punishment to get rid of single-use plastic; we haven't had it for thousands of years and we don't need it moving forward. Third, Western countries have little power compared to corporations here; do we need to go over all the abuses of corporations vis a vis Asia?

This means cleaning up, or at least putting a stop to the problem, could be a lot easier than complex ocean trash collection endeavors. Capturing debris from a river stream should be simpler, cheaper and more effective?

HN engineers and detail orientated people. Is there any workable option to add a "trash capture" device/system to the river outlet?


Chicago has a couple of boats that patrol the Chicago River scooping up plastic and other garbage.

https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2012/09/12/slice-of-life...


The hard part is not also capturing marine life.

Is this right? Seems like a pretty fixable problem...

Maybe I'm being slow, but what is the obvious solution?

The article doesn't really go into how or why the Yangtze, for instance, has so much plastic. The Yangtze is is 6,300 km long. It seems difficult to prevent people from dumping in it along it's entire length.

Are thinking of setting up a filter at the mouth? Processing 4000 tons of plastic a day, including microscopic beads, doesn't seem trivial to me.

Is your assumption that there's only a few major dumpers?


It's far more fixable than filtering the water in ocean. The river mouths are probably where the plastics are most concentrated in the plastic's life cycle. You could couple the plastic filter/processing plants with other required systems like power plant cooling and desalination, so that the energy you expend to filter is being used both to filter and for a secondary purpose.

The vast majority of the waste is fishing nets so blaming this on trash export is silly.

> vast majority of the waste is fishing nets

about 50%.


I was sloppy with my wording. By far the largest contributor.


The headline is click bait. It's not "most of the plastic in the ocean", it's "most of the plastic in the ocean that comes from rivers". And that long rivers from more densely populated areas would contribute more is hardly surprising.

Iirc, most of the plastic isn't even from rivers. It's from the fishing industry, illegal trash dumping and the wear on car tires.

Hi Downvoters, please explain what is factually wrong about my comment. Thanks.


I didn’t downvote you, but am wondering if you could provide any source supporting your statement? This is a website giving the ocean plastic sources, saying mostly from rivers: https://www.theoceancleanup.com/sources/

its in the article itself -

"A recent study estimates that more than a quarter of all that waste could be pouring in from just 10 rivers, eight of them in Asia."


> Iirc, most of the plastic isn't even from rivers. It's from the fishing industry, illegal trash dumping and the wear on car tires.

10% from fishing industry

Not sure what you mean by illegal trash dumping. Trash that's dumped directly on the coast and not into a river first?


> Not sure what you mean by illegal trash dumping. Trash that's dumped directly on the coast and not into a river first?

Trash that's illegally dumped off shore. It's harder to dump large amounts of trash in a river and not have somebody notice - it's easier to say you're transporting it and "lose" part/all of it while at sea.


Shipping waste is 5% of plastic in the ocean.

85% comes from either rivers or shorelines.


I'm not an expert and I'm not that interested in arguing specific numbers - I have no emotional attachment to them. The article being discussed here disputes your claim.

A recent study estimates that more than a quarter of all that waste could be pouring in from just 10 rivers [...] The 10 rivers that carry 93 percent of that trash [...], so 10 rivers are said to contribute 25% of total trash and 93% of river-trash. That'd leave ~68% from the shore, which sounds very high.

https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution#ocean-plastic-s... also has more input if you're interested.


You're not wrong, this headline is very poorly worded.

From the article:

>A recent study estimates that more than a quarter of all that waste could be pouring in from just 10 rivers, eight of them in Asia.

>The 10 rivers that carry 93 percent of that trash are the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, Indus and Ganges Delta in Asia, and the Niger and Nile in Africa.

So to say "10 Rivers Contribute Most of the Plastic in the Oceans" is not really correct, they contribute something like 25%.


This focuses on just one source of plastic pollution, of which there are many. I found this resource helpful to understand more about the broader scope of the problem:

https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution


What percentage of the world's population live alongside these rivers?

I've cycled 5,000 km this year in China and what I saw is at odds with this report:

There are cleaners in all public areas. What they collect must surely go to landfills.

Although I've seen some garbage dumps on the sides of lakes and rivers, I'm sure the authorities don't condone it. I also saw many signs saying "Water Source Protection Area" and fences keeping the public away.

Plastic sheeting is used extensively in agriculture, but surely they will dispose of used sheets properly...


It couldn't be Brutus, he's such an honorable man...

must surely go to landfills

I'm sure the authorities don't condone it

surely they will dispose of used sheets properly


I'm not trying to be overly mean here, but your comment reads like someone making a political comedy skit entitled "The World's Most Naiive Man Goes For a Bike Ride".

I gave my raw observations last night. Maybe they sound naive.

But I think that, after many years of growth at any cost, China is cleaning up their act. It may be years before it results in cleaner water flowing into the sea.




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