A new study by think tank Green Alliance has found that plastic marine litter from the UK can be reduced by about two thirds by undertaking five simple actions.
Conventional methods use buoys to remove litter from the open oceans that clean only the floating waste, as most of the plastic sinks or is ingested by aquatic creatures.
The method is effective for reducing plastic pollution in the sea by only 2%.
Green Alliance acting policy director Dustin Benton said: “It’s depressing to visit a beach that is covered with plastic, and downright scary to learn that the seafood you are eating might be contaminated by plastic pollution.
“The popularity of the microbeads ban and plastic bag charge shows the public is up for tackling these problems.
“The government should listen, introduce a bottle deposit scheme, and enforce rules on sources of industrial waste.”
In its new analysis, Green Alliance has found that preventing the plastic bottles from reaching the sea through a deposit return scheme would be the most effective action to stop marine pollution.
Plastic bottles are the single largest source (33%) responsible for sea pollution.
Deposit return schemes are widely implemented in Germany where nearly 100% of all plastics bottles are returned for recycling.
Besides implementing the deposit return scheme, UK should enforce ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ to reduce pollution from plastic pellets that can be used as raw material in industrial processes.
The country can also execute existing maritime waste dumping bans and provide wastewater treatment facilities with sand filters that filter the microplastic fibres procured from washing synthetic clothes.
Finally, the ban on microbeads should also be expanded to all products, according to the study.