Now can get out and about a bit more many of us are noticing a rise in the amount of litter in our environment. This has serious implications – it can hurt wildlife (through entanglement or swallowing) , is unsightly and can enter rivers. Once in rivers, plastic damages the ecology and ultimately ends up in the sea. It is estimated that 80% of the plastic in the ocean has come from a land source, via rivers. The top ten sources of plastics in rivers is below with a link which gives a larger version and advice on what you can do to help
Microplastics: it is not just the large plastic we can see, but the tiny fragments (less than 5mm ) called microplastics which are damaging. There are two types of microplastics – primary microplastics which have been made to be this size (this includes the nurdles which are used in plastic manufacturing and microbeads) and secondary microplastics which are the breakdown product of of larger plastic items. Even washing our clothes can release microplastics from synthetic fibres into our waterways.
The top sources of microplastics are:
- car tyres
- paints on buildings and road markings
- plastic pellets used to make plastic products
- clothing (synthetic fibres)
As citizens we can do our bit about the larger types of plastic pollution but it is going to take Government policies to tackle the effect of microplastics.
For more about a project to reduce plastic in the Great Ouse visit the Preventing Plastic Pollution website and you can share the recent video they have made: