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Seas and Coastal Areas

The UK has a long, varied and often picturesque coastline. Its marine activities have been the lifeblood of the nation's development.

Yet, the sea and coast are often treated like a giant waste bin. Many UK beaches do not reach EU standards.

Oil is a major pollutant - from installations, rigs, and tanker spills, but mainly from ships on a day to day basis.

Consequences of oil spills


Every year three times more rubbish is dumped into our oceans than the weight of fish caught.

photograph image of a polluted coastline

Every day around 5 million items of waste are thrown overboard from ships.

Annually, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles suffer cruel deaths from entanglement in, or ingestion of, plastics.

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2002 Edition