Wasted in the North Sea

[Above] Marine debris on the island of Terschelling, in the northern Netherlands

For many centuries ships have been dumping rubbish at sea – to reduce excess weight and to discourage vermin such as rats – which poses a significant and growing threat to the marine and coastal environment. The total input of marine litter into the oceans and seas worldwide is estimated at 6.4 million tonnes per year, 8 million items every day and 13,000 pieces of plastic on every square kilometre. Around 20,000 tonnes of marine litter are dumped in the North Sea every year. Of that, 70% sinks to the bottom, 15% floats to the surface and 15% is washed up on our coasts.

It's estimated that container ships lose over 10,000 containers at sea each year (usually during storms). This pollution harms and kills an estimated 100,000 sea turtles and marine mammals and 1,000,000 sea creatures each year.

The time it takes for litter to break down in the ocean:
Paper bus and parking tickets: 2 - 4 weeks
Cigarette butts: 1 - 5 years
Plastic bags: 10 - 20 years
Aluminium cans: at least 80 years
Plastic bottles: 450 years
Glass bottles: 1 million years

About 80% of marine debris comes from land-based sources. Litter in the ocean either washes up on beaches or collects in ocean gyres such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I guess what I'm trying to say is: Don't litter... ever!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Related Posts

NOT Buenos Aires
- The sport for the vertically challenged
- Photography - The Netherlands