Environmentalist hysteria about First World economies is misplaced

I’m sure most of my readers are aware that environmentalists blame First World nations and industrialized economies for most of the pollution and environmental problems in the world, and expect them to pay for solutions to those issues.  That’s what the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement were all about, in so many words.  President Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from the latter accord produced widespread condemnation.

Skeptics have long considered environmentalists’ claims overblown.  Now comes a report that the pollution of the world’s oceans with plastic is, in reality, not caused by the First World at all.

Up to 95 per cent of plastic polluting the world’s oceans pours in from just ten rivers, according to new research.

The top 10 rivers – eight of which are in Asia – accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste.

About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources – such as the Yangtze and the Ganges – could almost halve it, scientists claim.

. . .

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the ‘mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.’

He said: ‘The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.’

. . .

The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more – about 1.2 billion pounds.

A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

There’s more at the link.

Funny how the nations that produce most of the pollution expect the First World to pay to solve the problem, while they carry on regardless.  Emotional/environmental blackmail, anyone?



  1. Is it possible that the plastic floating downriver is not produced locally but is imported from the first world? "We'll get rid of it if you pay us."

  2. @B: China is no longer a Third World nation, but it isn't yet First World in the sense of having passed beyond the pollute-whatever-you-like, industrialize-at-all-costs habits of its recent industrial revolution. It still has no equivalent to Western nations in terms of food safety, product quality assurance, patent/intellectual property protection, etc. IMHO, it'll take a decade or two before it gets there.

  3. " IMHO, it'll take a decade or two before it gets there."

    That is way too optimistic a prediction. I expect it to take two linear generations, at a minimum, to make a significant change. It's CULTURE that needs to change there, for them to grasp the need. Frankly, I don't think they are capable of doing more than surface gloss in that area.

  4. Socialism results in the "Tragedy of the Commons", writ large.

    Exactly how motivated are you to try to make things better when "the state" owns the land? Especially if, when you try to improve something, you are implicitly saying that the "state" is not doing the best possible job?

  5. Their attitudes towards the environment don't change once they hit the magic dirt here in the USA either. In general, Asians don't have even the slightest grasp of basic conservation principles, fish and game laws, private property, common courtesy or even concepts of not dropping trash right where they stand. Anyone who frequents fishing or hunting areas where Asians have colonized can tell you all about it. The concepts of catch and release, limits, size restrictions etc simply are ignored by them or actively circumvented. They're not unlike locusts. The invaders from south of the border are bad about it too but the Asians take it to an entirely different level. One of my favorite fisheries growing up has been essentially strip mined by foreign invaders brought in as cheap labor for the meat packing industry. It was a place of legend when I was a kid and it produced huge fish of various species and lots of them. Once the invaders descended on the spot it's not worth visiting. The fish are small or non existent and the place is swarming with foreigners. Trash everywhere and you don't dare let your kids use the toilet alone or wander off to play. The DNR doesn't even bother writing them tickets because they don't have ID can't or won't speak English and won't show up for court anyway. They just throw up their hands and let them do whatever they want. A thriving fishery for over a century denuded and destroyed in the space of 10 or 15 years. Makes me sick.

  6. Frank C's comment echoes something that was pointed out to me during my UK trip and of which I was ignorant from US news sources. Apparently the empty shipping containers returning to China were, until recently packed, with recyclable plastic.
    Ostensibly this was offshoring our recycling and China has decided it's no longer green. I rather suspect it was marginally cheaper for Chinese manufacturers to use recycled material for new products than to make new packaging material in China,so profitable for them as well as recycling industry in the West. At the end of last year the Chinese ended this agreement.
    There may well be merit to the argument that the pollution in certain Asian rivers is an indirect result of consumption in the West, however it doesn't follow for most of the rest or those in Africa.

  7. Alert Greenpeace, et al.

    Like the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, in a contest between thuggish Chinese policing and monumental environmental-Leftist whacktards, I won't know who to root for.

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