• New research reveals ‘disconnect’ between litter and marine plastic Pollution

Waste Management

New research reveals ‘disconnect’ between litter and marine plastic Pollution

Jul 29 2021

New research has revealed that many people in the North West of Britain might not be aware that plastic litter in towns and cities can end up in the Irish Sea, harming the environment and marine life.

A survey conducted by YouGov for Keep Britain Tidy showed that only one-third (32%) of people surveyed in the North West of the UK think that marine plastic comes from overflowing bins in towns and cities and only 43% of people think that plastic litter dropped inland ends up in the sea.

Keep Britain Tidy CEO Allison Ogden-Newton commented: “Our new research seems to suggest that many people don’t realise their behaviour inland can have an impact on marine life, sometimes many miles away. However, littered plastic and items flushed down the loo can end up in rivers where they travel to the sea.

“There appears to be a disconnect between our behaviour and the impact on the environment, but that means we all have the power and opportunity to make real and positive change. Even better, we only need to take small and simple steps to have a huge impact.”

Keep Britain Tidy, is launching the Plastic Challenge in August to encourage people to think about how much plastic they use and take small, simple steps to fight plastic pollution.

Keep Britain Tidy are encouraging people to reduce, reuse, recycle and responsibly dispose of plastic and to only ever flush the 3 P's - pee, poo and paper. Items such as wet wipes and period care products are commonly flushed down the loo, but most contain plastic and can end up in the river and sea.

Some 2 million tonnes of plastic enters the sea in the UK by travelling down rivers. This can have a devastating effect on marine life. Scientists recently found that 100% of animals that had washed up on British shores had plastic in their stomachs.*

Globally, plastic kills over one million sea birds in addition to 100,000 sea mammals, turtles and fish every year.**

The YouGov survey showed that most people (72%) believe that plastic ends up in the ocean because people dropped it on the beach, while 64% are aware that it can come from the fishing industry (e.g. nets, hooks etc.).

The survey was conducted as part of a collaboration between Keep Britain Tidy, the Environment Agency and Natural Course in a project aimed at connecting the dots between our use of plastic and the impact on marine life in the North West.

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