The Marine Litter issue.
Marine litter is made up of discarded objects that do not occur naturally in the marine and coastal environment. Alarmingly, over the past 15 years the amount of marine litter washing up on UK beaches has almost doubled.
The vast majority of marine litter is plastic, which never truly breaks down. Experts suggest plastic left in the environment will be with us in some microscopic form many thousands of years.
When in the sea, plastics can also attract toxic chemicals, becoming increasingly harmful over time, and often entering the food chain when mistaken for food items by fish, seabirds, marine mammals and other organisms. Over 100,000 marine mammals and over 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter.
This is why marine plastic pollution, and specifically tackling society’s throwaway, excessive or unnecessary plastics, is now Surfers Against Sewage’s top priority. Plastic pollution is an issue that connects the environment with all parts of society, and is something that we can take action on at every level. Indeed, it will only be through concerted collective action that we will be able to create the paradigm shift that is needed to stop the flood of plastic pollution washing over our world.
It’s time that we re-wild our tidelines, restoring the natural mix of driftwood, cuttlefish bones and seashells rather than plastic bags, drinks bottles and wet wipes. A plastic free coastline will need a radical and progressive plastics industry, which rewards design innovation to eliminate throwaway plastic packaging and components, and one that supports new systems to trap plastic in the economy rather than the environment.