Avoiding environmental pollution is a better and cheaper option than cleaning up or mitigating the impact of pollution. There are many ways to tackle the problem of marine plastic debris and microplastics – from preventive upstream measures, through mitigation, to downstream removal. Upstream preventive measures are preferable to downstream removal as they address marine litter at its source by reducing the generation of waste that could become marine litter. These include improved product design, substitution or reuse of materials and more efficient manufacturing. Mitigation through improved waste management, including recycling, can help prevent waste from reaching the marine environment. Finally, downstream litter removal tackles the problem where the impacts are being felt in the marine environment. Beach cleaning or fishing for litter are two examples of actions that can have an immediate, positive effect (UNEP, 2016c).
From collection: Marine Litter Vital Graphics
GRID-Arendal and Maphoto/Riccardo Pravettoni