Approximately 10 million tonnes of litter end up in the world’s oceans and seas each year. The term “marine litter” or “marine debris” covers a range of materials which have been deliberately discarded, or accidentally lost on shore or at sea, and it includes materials that are carried out to sea from land, rivers, drainage and sewerage systems, or the wind (European Commission, 2013).
Plastics make up 80% of all marine litter from surface waters to deep-sea sediments (IUCN, 2018).
What we find on our beaches is not the full extent of the marine litter, including ocean plastics, load in the environment. It is estimated that 70% of marine litter is on the seabed, 15% is floating in the water column and 15% is what we find on our shores (OSPAR, 1995).
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