Bottles found to be worst culprit of pollution in Europe's waterways

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
40% of items found in waterways were consumer-related plastic

Plastic bottles are the most common item found discarded in European waterways, according to a new report from Earthwatch Europe and Plastic Oceans UK.

Food wrappers were the second highest on the list, followed by cigarette butts and takeaway boxes.

The authors looked at nine studies of pollution in freshwater across the UK and Europe.

Around 2000,000 items were counted across the nine studies the report reviewed, with 37.5% consumer-related plastic items.

The rest were non-plastic items, unidentified plastic pieces or industrial, agricultural or fishing related.

Bottles made up 14% of pollution, with food wrappers at 12% and cigarette butts at 9%.

Sanitary items, cotton bud sticks and cups were also found discarded in the waterways.

To reduce plastic pollution, the report recommended simple recommendations to cut through confusion.

These included reducing use of unnecessary items, looking for reuse alternatives and properly disposing or recycling an item.

Sector-led commitments such as the UK Plastics Pact have been set up to tackle the issue.

Last month, the EU also banned the use of some single-use items by 2021.

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