This interactive diagram shows the top causes of ocean plastic pollution. Most of the plastic that pollutes our oceans comes from land - in fact it is estimated that 80% of ocean plastic pollution originates here, flowing into the oceans through sewers and rivers, being blown towards the sea by the wind or simply being discarded directly on the beach. Shipping and fishing are the most common causes of plastic being lost directly into the ocean.
Ocean plastic pollution is overwhelmingly caused by 'Mismanaged plastic waste' - this means that plastic litter is not collected and dealt with by recycling or incineration, but rather simply discarded into the environment and not cleaned up.
When you next walk down the street and see plastic litter, imagine the journey it will take to arrive in our oceans! Do the right thing and put it in a nearby litter bin.
Part of:Common Seas Ocean Plastics Academy
In partnership with
Science | Ages 11-14
Ocean Plastics Science is a Key Stage 3 (KS3) resource combining both biology and chemistry. Students discover the journey plastic takes from manufacture, use, and disposal into the ocean. Included are teacher resources that allow students to emulate real research conducted by The University of Plymouth.