Where does litter come from?

Most litter in Britain is dropped from cars. Fast food packaging is a particular problem as it is dropped from cars in laybys after people have eaten their lunch or snack. Litter is often plastic packaging from snack foods (like crisp packets or drinks bottles), so is light and can be washed into rivers and streams when it rains.This can end up in the sea, adding to the plastic pollution problem.

Where does ocean litter come from?

Every year at least 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our ocean – that’s the equivalent of two bin lorries full every minute! Most litter in the seas (80%) comes downstream from rivers where it is washed into the sea. A lot of litter (over 50%) comes from just five countries in in South and East Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines). Many of the most polluted rivers in the world are in this part oif the world. This may be becauase there are no local collection systems in place – people literally have no where to put their rubbish but straight on the ground.

The ocean currents (or gyres) move the litter around the seas until it ends up as massive “plastic islands” taking up vast areas of the sea. No one really knows how big these islands are because the plastic is difficult to see from satellites, and some may just be a soup of tiny pieces of plastics.Tons of litter ends up on beaches around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, while 95% of the plastic pollution is deposited on the ocean floor, where we can’t see it.

The inforgraphic below shows where plastic in the oceans come from and how much is present.

Downloaded from: http://www.eunomia.co.uk/reports-tools/plastics-in-the-marine-environment/