Introduction          Land-based sources          Sea-based sources

Pathways          References           Infographs


Marine littering is a consequence of how societies and individuals produce and deal with waste. In order to effectively combat the issue, it is important to ask: where, by whom and why litter is released, and how it enters the marine environment?


Most of the marine litter originates one way or another from land. Land-based litter load can come directly from the shoreline or it can be transported from distant areas such as inland towns and industrial sites via rivers and wastewater pipelines.


Sea-based marine litter originates from maritime activities such as shipping, fishing, offshore installations or dumping of refuse at sea.


Marine litter can be transported by different mechanisms from distant areas: via rivers or washed by runoff from inland, or transported by animals, driven by winds and by sea currents.


Take a look at some infographs on marine littering:

Marine litter pathways overview

Sea based sources to marine littering
Land based sources to marine littering
Common pathways
Where it all ends up