Top 11 polluting plastics


With an estimated 80% of plastic in the oceans originating from the land what are they and what can we do about it? The table below is from a study done in 2015 and shows what the researchers picked up. From causing wildlife mortality to contaminating our food chain we all need to think twice about what we use and how we dispose of it. A plastic too difficult to pick up and difficult to see with the naked eye, however, is causing much concern amongst scientists. It would also likely take the no.1 spot. Here are the top 11 most common plastics found in our oceans that we should all dispose of responsibly...

Top 10 litter items

Top 10 litter items


Cigarette Butts



Plastic Beverage Bottles



Food Wrappers



Plastic Bottle Caps



Straws, Stirrers



Other Plastic Bags



Glass Beverage Bottles



Plastic Grocery Bags



Metal Bottle Caps



Plastic Lids


Table 1: The top 10 litter items recovered from  91 countries during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up in 2015 (Ocean Conservancy, 2016).

11. Microfibres 

Any plastic less than 6mm dimeter is considered a micro plastic. One global problem however seems to be coming straight from our households- microfibres. Tiny fragments of plastic breaking off and filtering out into the ocean. If a 6kg of washing can produce 700,000 microfibres and these are too small for filter systems to pick up what else must be heading out into our oceans? What about cleaning appliances for the kitchen sink for example -we often see worn out sponges but where are the bits ending up? 

The 'Island of Trash' reported to be the size of Texas is actually a misconception. It is however a mass of Microparticles hard to see with the naked eye. Some scientists refer to it more as a 'plastic soup'. The problem here is that fish and mammals in the ocean will be ingesting or mistaking it for food which bodes the question- what happens to their health? Some studies have found that the ingestion of chemicals transferred by plastics are leading to adverse affects including mortality, reproductive and immune system issues. When 60% of the world source of protein is from the sea and many of us ordering it in restaurants, the question that naturally follows is, how is it affecting us? 

It is without doubt if we don't act now and do our bit there will be grave consequences for the future. Making small changes to our lifestyle with the next generation in mind is the right step. Recycle, reuse, re-think about what clothes you buy and how you wash them. Think about what you could fix or repair rather than throwing away. 

If we don't then the future is looking very sad indeed. 

If you want some further reading then look up:

PlasticOceans  or SurfersAgainstSewage 

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