marine litter south sands beach

10 marine litter facts (and how you can help reduce plastic pollution)

Amanda Keetley Blog Leave a Comment

Ahead of our Autumn beach clean tomorrow with Surfers Against Sewage at South Milton Sands, we wanted to share 10 marine litter facts, and also some tips to help reduce plastic pollution.

Mattiscombe Sands beach clean

10 facts about marine litter…

1. A plastic bottle left on the beach may last for more than 450 years in the marine environment.

2. Plastic makes up the vast majority of marine litter, and unfortunately never truly goes away.

3. The amount of marine litter found on UK beaches has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

4. It’s estimated that 6.4 million tonnes of litter enter the sea annually.

5. On average there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean.

6. Approximately 8 million individual pieces of marine litter enter the sea every day.

7. Around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts litter the environment every year.

8. Sadly 94% of Fulmars in the North Sea have ingested plastic.

9. Since the 5p plastic bag charge in the UK, there has been an 80% reduction in the number of bags given out in supermarkets.

10. 37% of marine litter comes directly from the public. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!

Torcross 2 Minute Beach Clean

What can you do to help reduce plastic pollution?

Beach cleans, and general litter picking, are great ways to help ease the problem.

Even if you can only spare a couple of minutes, the small pile of litter in the pictured here was picked up in a #2minutebeachclean.

If you do this every time you visit the beach (or any waterway) you can make a really positive difference.

On a beach clean, it’s fun to see who can find the weirdest item of marine litter.

But the most common items you are likely to find are:

– plastic bottles
– fishing net/rope
– plastic bags
– crisp/sweet wrappers/food packaging
– plastic ‘nurdles’ (shipped to be melted down to make things out of plastic)
– cotton bud sticks
– cigarette butts
– wet wipes

Do you use any of the above items?

You can help reduce marine litter by refusing these items so that there are less in the system.

Also, see our 9 tips for living with less plastic for more ideas to reduce plastic pollution.

Change can begin with you! 

Find out more. Understand the problem. Be aware. Spread the word. Start a positive chain reaction.

Be the change! 🙂

You might also want to consider joining Surfers Against Sewage to help them with their work protecting our marine environment.

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