Plastic bottles are the most common litter in European waterways

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A report discovered that bottles have surpassed luggage and straws when it comes to incidence in freshwater rivers.

The great news is that plastic grocery bags are not as big an issue as we thought. The bad news is that plastic drink bottles are a far bigger issue than we thought.

A fresh report by the Earthwatch Institute has shown the ten most common kinds of plastic litter discovered in European waterways. The list, which has been made based on data from nine studies of pollution in freshwater resources, shows how attempts to crack down on certain single-use items (straws, bags) have been effective, while others require more attention (bottles, food wrappers). The list is as follows:

1. Plastic bottles (14 percentage of identifiable plastic litter items found in freshwater environments)
2. Food wrappers (12 percentage )
3. Cigarette butts (9 percent)
4. Food takeaway containers (6 per cent )
5. Cotton marijuana sticks (5% )
6. Cups (4% )
7. Sanitary items (3% )
8. Smoking-associated packaging (2 per cent )
9. Plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery (1 percent)
10. Plastic luggage (1 per cent )

That plastic bags and straws rank so low on the list might come as a surprise, however, this is likely the end result of many years of effective campaigns and penalties to discourage their use. This is fantastic, however we shouldn’t become complacent.

All of these kinds of litter cause problems for wildlife and fish and are difficult to clean up. They leach toxic chemicals into the water since they degrade and cause serious blockages (especially in the instance of wet wipes and the notorious fatbergs in London’s sewer system).

When plastic litter ends up in freshwater rivers, it does not remain there. Scientists estimate that 80 percentage of sea plastic stems from river resources. Hence, their view which
“focusing on the clean-up of rivers is the best way to choke off the flow of existing rubbish into seas, while the ultimate source of the problem – our dependence on throwaway plastic products – is tackled.”
Consumer choices do drive pollution amounts. When the report writers were reviewing analysis data, they discovered 37 percentage of plastic items discovered in rivers were consumer-related items “frequently encountered in daily life.” The ten items in the list constitute 28 percentage of litter items depended.

By changing our consumption habits, refusing overly packed items, and seeking out reusable alternatives, these numbers could be diminished. The report provides strategies for tackling waste and ranks them according to their efficacy.

I appreciate the report’s suggestion that certain items cease to be made or marketed, I.e. plastic cotton buds. There is not any explanation for these to be produced when better alternatives exist (I.e. timber or newspaper sticks). We, as sellers, can do our very best to avoid thembut companies have a much greater obligation to reformulate products to guarantee circularity and reusability.

Read the complete report .

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