The River Mersey contains proportionally more plastic pollution than the infamous Great Pacific Garbage – a patch Recognised by scientists as one of the most plastic-polluted expanses of water on earth.
This was one of the findings of a new scientific study released by Greenpeace, which reveals that every one of the 13 UK rivers tested were contaminated with microplastics.
In the first nationwide exercise of its kind, experts found the River Mersey contained equivalent to 2 million pieces of microplastic per square km.
875 pieces of plastic were captured in half an hour making it more polluted than than the Great Pacific Garbage patch.
Five out of 13 rivers tested contained microbeads – which were partially banned in 2017.
The report found that more than half of the 13 rivers contained plastic pellets called ‘nurdles’, which are used as a raw material in the production of plastic products.
Fiona Nicholls, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said the study was a “wake-up call” for the government.
She added: “Fiddling around the edges of the plastic pollution problem by banning straws simply doesn’t cut it.
“We need to see bold new plastic reduction targets in the upcoming environment bill, and aim to at least halve single use plastic production by 2025.”
Greenpeace is urging the UK government to set legally-binding plastic reduction targets in the upcoming Environment Bill and to create an independent environmental watchdog with proper powers to enforce those targets.
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