Environmental charity Earthwatch Europe has published the Plastic Rivers report. The paper includes details of the 10 most common types of plastic consumer waste found in freshwater rivers and lakes.
Published in association with Plastic Oceans UK, the data was collected from nine freshwater sources across the UK and Europe.
The data focused on consumer waste, excluding items related to fishing, agriculture and industry.
The top 10 types of plastic waste found in the study included:
- Plastic bottles and lids
- Food wrappers (crisp packets and sweet wrappers)
- Cigarette butts
- Sanitary items (nappies, sanitary towels, tampons and wet wipes)
- Plastic and polystyrene takeaway containers
- Cotton bud sticks
- Plastics or polystyrene cups
- Smoking-related packaging
- Plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery
- Plastics bags
Debbie Winton, who wrote the report, said: “Our report provides simple, evidence-based recommendations to show people exactly what changes they can make and the positive impact those changes will have on our waterways.”
According to Earthwatch Europe, 80% of the plastic in the seas and oceans originates in rivers.
In addition to the new data, the charity has also published a downloadable guide to the top pollutants and the best ways to reduce their prevalence in the environment.
CEO of Plastic Oceans UK, Jo Ruxton, said: “This throwaway approach [to plastics] is having more serious consequences and the report shows really simple ways to avoid this problem and stop plastic pollution.”