Science

Beach Litter Shows A Rise In Plastic Product Use

By Rodney Rafols , Dec 03, 2016 01:19 AM EST
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Our environment is very important. Keeping it clean has never been more important than now. There is still much to be done though, as beach litter shows a rise in plastic product use. (Photo : oceanpollutionpatch/YouTube)

Humans produce much waste. Much of the environment is being harmed by the waste created by human activity. Although there are efforts to educate people about waste management, beach litter shows a rise in plastic product use, and the still rampant disregard for the environment.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory have looked into surveys made over the last 10 years made by the Marine Conservation Society's Beachwatch program. There has been a large amount of litter taken by the surveys, and have noted that there are some types have become more frequent. Overall the amount of litter has not significantly increased, though some items have seen an increase.

Litter that has increased over the years include small plastic fragments, plastic food packaging, wet wipes and polystyrene foam among others. Also found were balloons and plastic fishing nets. While there has been much of those items found, regions do vary in how much of those have been found there.

Beaches in Southwest of England and South Wales have many of the items, according to Phys Org. Beaches north and west of Scotland have the lowest recorded amount of the items. Most of the items that were found were land-based in origin.

Of note are the number of balloons that have been found. Sarah Nelms, author of the study and a Ph.D. researcher from the University of Exeter has said that mass balloon releasing events such as funerals are likely to account for the number of balloons found. Wet wipes have come from waste water from communities.

The presence of plastic items are a concern since they could pose harm to marine wildlife, as Cornwall Live reports. Fishing nets could get marine animals entangled into them. There have been cases already of marine mammals getting entangled in nets, some of which have resulted in drowning.

The researchers have said that there is a need to continue monitoring the beaches. Programs such as Beachwatch can help in monitoring. This would help in keeping much of the sea almost free from litter. Greenpeace is ensuring that the oceans remain free from such pollutants, with it urging for the ban of microbeads.

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