Plastic bottles have been found to be the largest threat to waterways, and subsequently the ocean. According to a recent report, these discarded remnants of our consumerism lifestyle account to the highest proportion of single use plastics found in European waterways, with bottles making up 14% of visible litter.
The importance of polluted waterways is becoming increasingly recognised, with 80% of ocean plastic pollution stemming from rivers. It's therefore thought that a shift in focus to the cleaning of waterways would be more effective in temporarily reducing plastic waste in the ocean, by eliminating the flow of litter.
This, coupled with a permanent shift in global thinking towards halting our reliance on single use plastics as well as shifting our 'throw-away' approach to life, is thought to be a potentially successful strategy in tackling ocean plastic pollution.
Food wrappers proved to be the next biggest group of plastics at 12%, followed by cigarette butts at 9%, disposable food containers took 6%, with cotton bud sticks coming in at 5%.
Having once been the most prominent form of single use plastic pollution, plastic bags only accounted for 1% of the collective mass. This follows years of honing down on their use, including the introduction of charges in supermarkets and other stores. This is a promising prospect and insight into the achievements possible when a collective focus is introduced on reducing single use plastic waste.
Moving forwards, the EU has put plans in place to ban single-use plastics, with items such as straws, plastic plates and cutlery to be banned by 2021.
The UK government is still considering how to implement plans to phase out many single-use plastic products, with a target thought to make an appearance later this year now looking likely to take longer to come into fruition.
You can read about the detrimental effect of plastic pollution and importance of ceasing it in our oceans here:
Dead Whale ingested 40kg of Plastic