By Madison Park
- Published on February 11, 2015 by CNN
(CNN) - Nearly every piece of plastic still exists on Earth, regardless of whether it's been recycled, broken down into microscopic bits or discarded in the ocean.
And the world keeps producing more of the material -- creating 288 million metric tons of it in 2012. About 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of it end up in the oceans in 2010, according to a new estimate published in the journal Science.
That report released Thursday ranks countries that generate the most plastic debris into the oceans, with Asian nations taking 13 out of the top 20 spots.
"All that consumption is growing, unfortunately the waste management systems around the world are not keeping pace as quickly as the consumption and products -- there's a big mismatch," said Doug Woodring, who was not involved in the study but has worked on the issue of plastics waste at the Ocean Recovery Alliance in Hong Kong.