Friday, 3 January 2014

Plastic waste in the Thames will devastate marine life, report warns

An unseen stream of plastic rubbish flowing along the bed of the river Thames and out into the North Sea will have far-reaching effects onmarine life, a new report indicates.

Scientists from the Natural History Museum and Royal Holloway, University of London, collected rubbish over a three-month period at the end of 2012 from seven locations along the river bed of the upper Thames estuary, between Crossness and Broadness Point.

The team netted 8,490 items including plastic cigarette packaging, food wrapping and cups that may have been blown or washed into the river down storm drains. More than 20% of waste was made up of sanitary products such as pads and plastic backing strips, which had most likely been flushed straight down the toilet. The full extent of the unseen waste could be far worse, the study warned, as plastic bags and other large items may have escaped the small nets used in the study.

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