Facts about Marine Pollution
An important talking point that is regularly highlighted in world news is how our waste is affecting our environment. A key discussion within this issue is the amount of marine pollution that is in our oceans and what we can do to reduce this. You may be surprised by the amount of waste polluting our seas and beaches, eight million individual pieces of marine litter enter the sea every day, and this figure certainly isn’t something to be ignored.
Plastic is a major culprit of marine pollution and not only does it affect marine life with animals and fish ingesting it, it finds its way onto our beaches sometimes in the form of microparticles so we cannot see the harm it is doing. Plastic waste on our beaches has increased by 140% since 1994 and further marine pollution will have many consequences on the environment in the future.
As many people may have witnessed on local beaches, there are several common types of waste that is washed up or left by people. This includes:
- Cardboard and Paper - cups, bags
- Glass - bottles, light bulbs
- Metal - cans, tins, foil, disposable BBQs
- Plastics - nets, buoys, bottles, food packaging
- Timber - pallets, crates
- Rubber - tyres, balloons, gloves
- Sewage-related - cotton buds, nappies, condoms, sanitary products
- Textiles - shoes, clothing, furniture
- Cigarette butts
The effect of the above items on our marine wildlife sees 136,000 seals and whales trapped in nets, lines, and traps every year, and also one million seabirds dying from entanglement and ingestion. The plastic waste that enters our seas can release toxins into the water, subsequently polluting the seawater for marine life and also for people who decide to take a dip. What is the cost of trying to clean up our environment? With the increase in rubbish on our beaches, local authorities spend approximately £18 million each year trying to tidy up the mess, which will rise if the issue increases.
So what can we do to help reduce marine pollution?
In everyday life you wouldn’t leave rubbish around your house so why do it in the outside environment? In the bigger picture, people and industry need to be responsible for the waste that is entering our oceans and seas, whether that be fishing boats leaving nets and lines out at sea, or visitors to the beach leaving drinks cans and crisp packets on the beach. We all have a responsibility to keep our beaches and oceans clean, why not join in a local beach clean and join in the fun whilst doing your bit for the environment and remember to be a responsible beach user during your visit.
Facts provided by Surfers against Sewage.
View our guide to Devon beaches to find your nearest beach while on holiday in Devon.