Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Marine plastic bag pollution in decline

The volume of plastic bag pollution in seas around the UK has fallen during the past eight years, government adviser the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) has said.

Its research into the composition of marine plastic litter found fewer bags than in 2010, which it said could be a consequence of the 5p levy imposed on them in 2015.

But Cefas said the overall amount of plastic litter in the sea had remained static due to the presence of other items such as fishing debris.

It said plastic was commonly observed across all sea areas. During the 1992–2017 period, 63% of Cefas’s 2,461 trawls had contained at least one plastic litter item.

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

Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Julian Kirby said: “It’s great that the bag levy appears to have cut plastic bags in our seas, but much tougher action is needed if we are to turn the tide on the huge plastic pollution crisis – including micro-plastics – swamping our marine environment.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Thanks, we've not yet examined how burning plastics - in wrongly named 'waste-to-energy' schemes, - creates more nanoplastics, dioxin etc. Yet such schemes are hailed as 'renewable energy' and Renewable Obligation Certificates are to be sought for them. eg Renewi in Derby. Sustainability criteria imposed by OFGEM will hopefully put paid to such unsustainable schemes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.