Marine Litter is causing increasing problems within our seas, shore line and Marine life.
It is unsightly and can cause extreme problems in and out of the water.
Dangers to Marine life:Animals can get caught up in litter – Entanglement.
Animals can also mistakenly eat litter items – Ingestion.
Ingestion can cause physical damage to the animal and it can also clog up its digestive system preventing it from gaining adequate nutrition from its usual foods. A scientific study found that 90% of Fulmars in the North Sea had plastic in their stomachs. There are some quite shocking images available that show the devastating impact that plastics can have on seabirds.
Plastic items are the most common litter items. Plastic breaks into increasingly smaller pieces and it is thought that it never fully biodegrades. The smallest fragments of plastic are referred to as micro-plastic and these can be ingested by filter feeding animals that live off plankton. These micro-plastic particles are known to harbour really high levels of toxins (these are pollutants found in the sea that stick to the surface of the plastic particles).
What can we do to help
All litter is preventable, but cleaning up is an important part to this and through our Beaches and Marine Litter education programme we help schools to acknowledge the problem and find ways to prevent it.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is an important part of this and participating in a local clean-up will help beach litter from finding its way back or into the Marine environment.