The rivers that carry the most plastic to the oceans

20 most polluted rivers

Every year, between 410,000 and 4 million tonnes of waste are released from rivers into the oceans.

As we like to say at The SeaCleaners, ocean protection starts on land. That’s why we designed the Manta to be an active, mobile solution that can operate over an unlimited radius. Designed to operate in river mouths and estuaries, where plastic waste slicks are concentrated and have not yet begun to break down or drift into the ocean, the Manta is able to intervene rapidly anywhere in the world, following a natural disaster (hurricane, tsunami…) to collect floating waste before it sinks.

Thanks to a study conducted by Laurent Lebreton, Head of Research at The Ocean Cleanup and member of our International Scientific Advisory Board, which identified the 20 most polluted rivers in the world, we were able to define our different intervention areas.

In East Asia:
Yangtse (China), Zhu Jiang (China), Mekong (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar, Vietnam), Xi (China), Huangpu (China), Brantas (Indonesia), Pasig (Philippines), Irrawaddy (Myanmar), Solo (Indonesia), Dong (China), Serayu (Indonesia), Tamsui (Taiwan), Hanjiang (China), Progo (Indonesia)

In South Asia:
The Ganges (India, Bangladesh)

In Africa:
Cross (Nigeria and Cameroon), Imo (Niger), Kwa Ibo (Nigeria)

In South America:
Amazon (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador), Magdalena (Colombia)

“Waste management in these countries is not in line with their development. So instead of being properly collected and recycled, waste ends up in the streets, in rivers or is brought to rivers as a result of flooding.”

Christian Schmidt Hydrogeologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

Most of these rivers are located in areas of rapid economic expansion and high population growth. The major issues of plastic pollution are relegated to the background, and the rivers collect the domestic waste of millions of inhabitants. The problem of waste management is all the more acute in rural areas, which are poorly equipped to deal with this growing problem.