New research suggests tackling plastic waste as it enters the marine environment would be more effective than hoovering up litter from the open sea
Tackling marine litter will be the subject of the fifth annual Poly Talk exhibition and conference, being held in Brussels on 16-17 March.
Experts will converge on the Belgian capital to discuss the challenge of marine litter on a platform created by Plastics Europe, the Brussels-based trade association.
The two-day conference will assess the scale of the problem of marine litter, strategies for dealing with it, regional challenges, opportunities and solutions and best prevention practice.
Meanwhile new research has suggested that tackling plastic waste as it enters the marine environment was likely to be more effective than trying to hoover up litter from the open sea.
Research by oceanographer Dr Erik van Sebille and Peter Sherman, a student at Grantham Institute form Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, published in Environmental Research Letters, found the largest flows of plastic to be just off the coast.
Van Sebille told The Guardian: “It makes sense to remove plastics where they first enter the ocean around dense coastal economic and population centres where there is a lot of marine life.
“It also means you can remove the plastics before they have had a chance to do any harm. Plastics in the patch have travelled a long way and potentially already done a lot of harm.”
Placing collectors near coastlines would be more effective in clearing up micro-plastics than trying to tackle the so-called Great Ocean patch, the pair said.