Plastic and cigarettes make up bulk of our beach litter

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BY ELLISON VAHI

ACCORDING to a nationwide study focused on litter, plastic is the most common waste material found in our rivers and lakes, with non-biodegradable cigarette butts approaching in second.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, some 1,052 measurements were made at 112 locations for the first instalment of the Swiss Litter Report external link. The effort was led by ‘STOPPP’- Stop Plastic Pollution CH, an environmentalist group focused on plastic waste reduction.

In relation to the study, they found that 65.4 percent of litter items on our shores were made of plastic. Non-biodegradable cigarette butts came in second at 34.1 percent.

Litter items larger than 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) were classified into 89 waste categories and broken down into nine material types. Common items include plastic fragments, Styrofoam, glass, paper, sweet wrappers, metal bottle caps, aluminium lids, pull tabs and plastic sheets.

Small litter made up the majority of items found, suggesting that municipal cleaning teams did not have the capacity to clear them.

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