Decline in plastic bags on UK's seabed

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Widespread distribution of litter items, especially plastics, were found on the seabed of the North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Sea and Irish Sea

The amount of plastic bags found on the UK’s seabed is decreasing, according to a 25 year research project by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

Although there were changes in the composition of marine plastic litter, the overall amount has been maintained by increasing amounts of other plastic items such as fishing debris.

Over the 25-year research period (1992–2017), 63% of the 2,461 trawls contained at least one plastic litter item.

Thomas Maes, marine litter scientist at Cefas, said: “We observed sharp declines in the percentage of plastic bags as captured by fishing nets trawling the seafloor around the UK compared to 2010 and this research suggests that by working together we can reduce, reuse and recycle to tackle the marine litter problem.”

A vast array of litter, especially plastics, was found on the seabed of the North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Sea and Irish Sea.

The paper is available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.245.


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