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More than half of the plastic trash in the world's oceans comes from just five countries, all of them in Asia or the Pacific Islands, according to a recent report by a US.-based charity.
Some of the developing economies in Asia and the Pacific Rim countries have grown so quickly that they've outpaced their own development of infrastructure for trash collection. Less than half of the garbage is properly collected in those countries, the report says, and even official landfills are sometimes located near rivers or the ocean. Other areas lack waste management regulations.
Further, the article notes, the relative poverty common in many of those developing countries has led corporations to sell local customers products in smaller — hence, cheaper — quantities, often packaged in low-grade plastic bags or pouches. Such packages in turn burden local trash-management systems with a greater amount of plastic that's too poor in quality to appeal to local garbage pickers who seek recyclables for resale.