Globally, about 80% of plastic pollution comes from terrestrial sources (GESAMP, 2016) and approximately 4 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the sea via rivers every year (Schmidt et al 2017. Environ. Sci. Technol. 51, 12246-12253); yet we lack a baseline of the extent of this pollution and an understanding of its origin. Thus, managing this is difficult, piecemeal and costly.
We therefore need to understand the origins of plastic pollution in the marine environment to effectively target its sources.
The PPP project will develop and use a conceptual catchment model to gather data on the amount and likely sources of plastic pollution in 7 pilot sites including: Brest Harbour, Douarnenez Bay, Bay of Veys, Medway, Tamar, Great Ouse & Poole Harbour.
Plastic pollution entering the catchments will be identified, quantified based on standardised approaches that will be then evaluated. This conceptual model will be used to identify pollution hotspots and where interventions would be most effective.
Using this model to target and guide actions, the partners will assess the cost-effectiveness/sustainability of current and innovative approaches, creating a portfolio of tried and tested sustainable sector-specific removal methods that can be adopted in and beyond the FCE area to prevent and better manage pollution protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
PPP will also engage with various communities, agriculture and fishing/maritime industries to determine effective ways to capture and remove plastic waste from their activities, reducing plastic footprints and steering them to more sustainable behaviours.