You only have to go for a short walk along the coast, pretty much anywhere in the world before you’ll come across washed up plastic waste. Two-thirds of this waste is coming from litter being washed down rivers and drains when it is dropped in the city, or from badly managed landfill sites and items being flushed down the loo. The rest is lost at sea such as containers going overboard or lost fishing equipment.
There is a whopping 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic weighing 269,000 tonnes, about 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy. A plastic bottle can take 450 years to break down in the marine environment, but even when it does it still exists in microscopic pieces. So actually, every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some shape or form. Scary.
Plastic waste can be deadly for sea wildlife as they can easily mistake it for food or become entangled. Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.
Surfers Against Sewage is a wonderful organisation who are leading beach cleans across the UK, in their 2019 Big Spring Beach Clean they removed an amazing 71.1 tonnes of packaging pollution from 767 beaches, rivers streets and mountains across the UK.
Go on, sign up to help or organise your own beach clean or litter pick within your community!
Buy the book here!