Just 10 Plastic Products Make up 75% of All Ocean Litter, Study Shows

  June 11, 2021

Plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominated the litter in the world’s oceans, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability was funded by the BBVA Foundation and the Spanish science ministry. The study shows that just 10 plastic products including plastic lids and fishing gear accounted for three-quarters of the litter. This is due to their widespread use and extremely slow rate of degradation. Single-use bags, plastic bottles, food containers, and food wrappers are the four most widespread items polluting the seas making up almost half of the human-made waste, the researchers found. Their results were based on carefully combining 12m data points from 36 databases across the planet. The scientists argued that identifying key sources of ocean plastic can help policymakers to stop the stream of litter at its source. The highest concentration of litter was found on shorelines and sea floors near coasts. Manwhile, another study in the same journal examined the litter entering the ocean from 42 rivers in Europe. The study found that Turkey, Italy, and the UK were the top three contributors to floating marine litter. In May, Greenpeace revealed that UK plastic waste sent to Turkey for recycling had been burned or dumped in the ocean. The researchers recommended bans on avoidable take-out plastic items as the best option to tackle marine pollution.

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