Tackling litter from source to sea

We welcome the campaign Ocean Rescue launched by Sky this week which aims to raise awareness of the problem of plastic in the oceans, to try encourage behaviour change, and to persuade government to do something.

Over the past 20 years we have played an active role in raising awareness of marine and coastal litter with individuals, communities, with local authorities, with the Scottish Government and with businesses.

It is commonly documented that 80% of marine and coastal litter comes from land.  This is why we have worked to raise awareness of litter and littering behaviour and the impact on the environment for more than 50 years.

Litter from land can enter the marine environment from human activity on the seas and oceans, but also from our activities on land.  Litter can blow from cities, towns and villages into waterways where it in turn travels to the marine environment.

We believe that it is crucial to link up land-based litter prevention campaigns and marine and coastal litter reduction programmes if we are to reduce plastic pollution in the sea and oceans.

This is why we have worked with partner organisations across Europe, as members of the Clean Europe Network, to develop monitoring and evaluation tools to measure litter on land in a consistent way.  

There have been some fantastic projects involving thousands of people cleaning up, sharing their knowledge, monitoring, surveying, sharing best practice and taking action over the years.  You can read about our part in these here.

But, there is still so much more to do.  Here are a few ideas on how you can help:

  • Read more about litter, what we are doing and what you can do.
  • Dispose of your litter and dog dirt responsibly at all times, inland and by the coast.
  • If you come across an accumulation of coastal or marine litter which you can not remove, make a formal complaint to your local authority.
  • Organise and register a beach Clean Up with us, joining thousands who do this annually.
  • Sign up to the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean to survey the litter types and volumes and collect valuable data for us to campaign with.

While you are watching, and learning about the extent of the problem via Sky Ocean Rescue, this week, have a think about what action you could take to reduce litter at land, in our waterways and at sea?


24 January 2017

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