By Rebecca Smithers

Analysis finds that placing plastic collectors near coasts would remove 31% of microplastics, versus 1% if they were all in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage patch’

Dredging plastic waste from coastal locations rather than deep in the oceans is the the most efficient way to clean it up and avoid damaging global ecosystems, according to new analysis.

Floating plastic waste ranging from bags, bottles and caps, fibres and ‘microbeads’ wash out into the oceans from rivers and sewers, while larger plastics are broken down into smaller fragments that can last for hundreds to thousands of years. Fragments of all sizes are swallowed by marine life and enter the food chain, disrupting fragile ecosystems.