Where does beach rubbish come from?


Our oceans currently have large quantities of rubbish floating on them or lying on the ocean floor. Items of this can wash up on our beaches when the tides bring it in (see this page for how tides work).




So where has this floating rubbish come from? [Answer: pretty much everywhere]









Either by industry or individuals - accidentally or on purpose - littering can add to the rubbish in the sea. And you don't have to be on the coast for litter to end up in the sea. Litter on the ground can end up in storm drains or our rivers and streams which can then take it into the sea.




Some items are lost through fishing - from fishing boats or anglers. There is a whole page on this.


Some items end up in the sea beacuse the container ships that were carrying them end up in stormy seas and lose some of their cargo. Perhaps the most famous example of this is a load of Lego thought to have been lost in 1997. Have a look at this on this page.


Sewerage systems


Some items flushed down toilets can inadvertently end up in the sea. The plastic sticks of cotton buds are an example of this. Sewerage systems cannot always filter out these thin sticks and so they can end up in the sea. 




Any items washed onto a beach are likely to be taken back out to sea by future tides if they are not picked up and disposed of properly. The tides will also take out litter dropped on beaches to add it to the floating rubbish.



Have a look at the page on plastics for ideas on how various items found on the beach have ended up there.