Monday, June 14, 2021

Takeaway F&B Litter Dominates Ocean Plastic

A new study published in the journal Nature Sustainability has concluded that plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominate the litter in the world’s oceans. 

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. Just 10 plastic products, also including plastic lids and fishing gear, accounted for 75% of the litter, due to their widespread use and extremely slow degradation. 

The scientists said identifying the key sources of ocean plastic made it clear where action was needed to stop the stream of litter at its source. They called for bans on some common throwaway items and for producers to be made to take more responsibility. 

Carmen Morales-Caselles, at the University of Cádiz, Spain, who led the research said: “This information will make it easier for policymakers to actually take action to try to turn off the tap of marine litter flowing into the ocean, rather than just clean it up”. 

The highest concentration of litter was found on shorelines and sea floors near coasts. The scientists said wind and waves repeatedly sweep litter to the coasts, where it accumulates on the nearby seafloor. Fishing material, such as ropes and nets, were significant only in the open oceans, where they made up about half the total litter.

The question is, what are we going to do about it? 

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