Preventing is better than cleaning up.
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 prevention upstream, to removal downstream. Prevention is always preferable to clean up later. Solutions include improved product design, substitution or reuse of materials and more efficient manufacturing. Waste management, including recycling, can help prevent trash from reaching the marine environment. Removal of downstream litter tackles the problem where the impacts are being felt in the marine environment. Beach clean-ups or fishing for litter are two examples of actions that can have an immediate, positive effect (UNEP, 2016c).
Infographic from the Marine Litter Vital Graphics collection.
Cartographer: GRID-Arendal and Maphoto/Riccardo Pravettoni