Plastic pollution is one of the major issues affecting the ocean today. Delve into some of the facts below


The ocean supports all life on Earth and its health is inseparable from our own. It provides us with half the oxygen we breath and supports the livelihoods of over three billion people worldwide.

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The ocean covers more than 70% of the surface of our planet and holds up to 97% of the Earth’s water.

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The ocean is home to nearly 200,000 identified species, but the actual number is likely to be in the millions.

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Under threat

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean from land every year.

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Plastic is thought to remain in the ocean for hundreds, or even thousands, of years.

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If plastic pollution goes unchecked, there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean by 2025. By 2050, plastic in the ocean could outweigh fish.

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Once in the ocean, plastic breaks down into increasingly smaller pieces, eventually becoming ‘microplastics’ and ‘nanoplastics’.

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Marine wildlife

Plastic in all its forms is killing marine creatures; they can get entangled in plastic debris and often mistake plastic for food, causing internal blockages, and death by starvation and suffocation.

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Common item

Plastic bottles are one of the most common items of litter in the ocean.

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10% of Thames shoreline litter collected is plastic drink bottles and lids.

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On one day last year, 2,500 plastic bottles were collected from the banks of the Thames – water bottles were the most common type found.

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7.7 billions

UK adults use nearly 7.7 billion single-use plastic water bottles each year – that’s around 150 per person.


The consumption of bottled water in the UK has almost doubled over the last 15 years.

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65% of UK adults would not buy bottled water if tap water were freely available.

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