80% of plastic found in the sea - comes from the land. So, how does the plastic get there? Plastic is light and can enter our water sources in many ways. Discarded plastic can come from people mindlessly dropping their litter in the street, from landfill sites or from products we use to exfoliate, whiten our teeth or clean our clothes. Our towns and cities are designed to drain water from our houses and streets to prevent flooding. These extensive waterways transport plastic waste through drainage systems ending up in canals, river and eventually the sea. Across the globe, 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year and of this, 50% has been produced for single use.
A shocking 12.7 million tonnes of plastic is estimated to end up in our oceans every year. Everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads clogging the marine ecosystems and contaminating the wild animals who live in them. Travelling on ocean currents this plastic is now turning up in every corner of our planet, from British beaches to uninhabited Pacific Islands. It is even being found trapped in Arctic ice.
Our oceans are slowly turning into a soup of plastic and the effects on ocean life are devastating. Big pieces of plastic are choking turtles and entangling seabirds. Microbeads are clogging the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny plankton to whales. Plastic is entering every level of the ocean food chain - and if you eat seafood - in your stomach!