The "marine litter" phenomenon and the search for microplastic particles in the ocean make one thing abundantly clear: we would be better off if we didn’t have to deal with the subject matter in the first place and if the oceans and other ecosystems were free of any anthropogenic debris. Let's look at the causes of "marine litter pollution":
The lion's share of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans comes from mismanaged waste. Carelessly discarded packaging, bottles, closures, cigarette butts and other similar items only add to the problem. In the past, plastic granules and pellets used to manufacture different plastic end products have likewise been found on the coastlines of rivers and oceans. In other words, this is a multifactorial, systemic problem that requires us to pull out all the stops to find a solution. The message is clear: If consumers are responsible for proper waste disposal, the plastics industry, for its part, is also tasked with the careful management of raw materials and containment of plastic pellets.
This means we know some of the challenges and possible solutions. The growing threat is being addressed: European plastics manufacturers are committed to preventing plastic pellet loss into the environment. To this end, Plastics Europe (https://www.plasticseurope.org/), the Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe, has launched the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) programme in 2013 . It is aimed at all key actors along the entire plastics industry value chain, including plastic manufacturers, processors and distributors, logistics and recycling companies. According to Plastics Europe, more than 500 European companies have so far signed their pledge to the OCS programme, thus covering over 98% of the total European plastics production .