A recently completed two-month scientific expedition carried out by Greenpeace found an abundance of plastic pollution on remote Scottish coasts. The expedition, which set out to sample seawater for microplastics and document the level of plastic pollution in the area, exposed the tremendous impact of the material on some of the most treasured seas and beaches of the U.K.

Reportedly, a petition to introduce a deposit-return scheme for drinks containers in the country will be submitted to Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham shortly.

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Greenpeace ship, the Beluga II, gathered information throughout May and June 2017. It arrived in Edinburgh to present the initial findings of its mission.

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Will Rose/Greenpeace

The expedition conducted over 40 scientific trawls, all of them in remote and biodiverse areas which are the habitats for wildlife such as seals, puffins, and whales.

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Will Rose/Greenpeace

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The early analysis revealed plastic in multiple samples, which will now be sent to the Greenpeace research laboratories at Exeter University for full analysis. The complete results will be published later this year.

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Researchers found that plastic is strewn on over 30 beaches in remote areas of the country…

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Microplastics were found in the foraging grounds of basking sharks and seabirds…

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They also found animals entangled in plastic debris…

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Waste was discovered in the nests and beaks of seabirds in colonies that are internationally significant – on the Bass Rock, Isle of May, and the Shiant Isles.

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Kajsa Sjölander/Greenpeace

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While these images might be shocking, they all reveal the truth about our collective plastic waste. Every year, we produce 300 million tons of plastic and around 8.8 million tons end up in the oceans. Sadly, once their, our trash ceases to be a small problem and becomes life-threatening to marine animals who are prone to ingest and get entangled in waste. Already, 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs and it is estimated that by 2050, 99 percent of all seabirds will have ingested plastic waste. The only way to stop the further rapid development of this already critical issue is to act against plastic pollution now.

To learn how to minimize your plastic footprint, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

All image source: Greenpeace