New research reveals ‘disconnect’ between litter and marine plastic

New research has revealed that many people across North West England might not be aware that plastic litter in towns and cities can end up in the Irish Sea.

A survey conducted by YouGov for Keep Britain Tidy has found that only 32 per cent of people surveyed in the North West think that marine plastic comes from overflowing bins in towns and cities, and only 43 per cent of people think that plastic litter dropped inland ends up in the sea.

Two million tonnes of plastic enters the sea in the UK by travelling down rivers. This is devastating for marine life, with scientists recently finding that 100 per cent of animals found washed ashore in Britain had plastic in their stomachs.

According to statistics from the United Nations Ocean Conference, globally, plastic kills over one million seabirds every year, as well as 100,000 sea mammals, turtles and fish.

The YouGov survey showed that 72 per cent of people believe that plastic ends up in the ocean because people dropped it on the beach, while 64 per cent are aware that it can come from the fishing industry (for example, nets and hooks).

The survey was conducted as part of a collaboration between Keep Britain Tidy, the Environment Agency, and Natural Course, in a project aimed at connecting the dots between our use of plastic and the impact on marine life in the North West.