The OECD Report “Global Plastics Outlook”, released last month, paints a bleak picture of relentless plastic pollution. One of its findings tells us that in 2019, 6.1 million tonnes (Mt) of plastic waste leaked into aquatic environments and 1.7 Mt flowed into oceans. There is now an estimated 30 Mt of plastic waste in seas and oceans, and a further 109 Mt has accumulated in rivers.
The implications for both marine and human health are becoming abundantly clear as fragments of plastic, in particular, are being increasingly detectable on beaches and rivers, in sediment and the tissues of marine organisms.
The production of an international treaty on plastic pollution is now under consideration by the United Nations.
What can we, as individuals, possibly do in the face of this profoundly serious situation?
We can continue to lobby our Government, through our MPs, to take much more positive action to reduce the flow of plastic into the environment, and support the work of campaigning groups like the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage.
But, in addition, there are practical steps we can all take on a daily basis, to reduce our own individual plastic footprints.
Remember also to check out what positive work local conservation groups are doing to protect our marine and wider environment. A list can be found by visiting the this page on the Cornwall Plastic Pollution Coalition website.
Note: you can find more information about the OECD report, and the UN response, at the foot of the Top Tips page.