The oceans are already filled with 275 million tons of plastics. Plastic fragments disperse and can now be found from the tropical Pacific to the freezing Arctic. Seventy percent of plastics ultimately sink, damaging life on the seabed. The remainder float in open seas, often ending up in gyres–circular motion of currents–forming conglomerations of swirling plastic rubbish called garbage patches, or accumulate in closed bays, gulfs, and beaches. The durable and buoyant nature of plastic leads to a truly global distribution of this damaging waste product.
A 2015 study named five member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) among the biggest sources of plastics pollution in the world’s oceans. These are: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. ASEAN countries, due to their lengthy coastlines and high plastic usage, are some of the primary sources of marine plastics globally. Plastic production rates have seen a steady growth in recent years, especially in the countries mentioned above.