A new study has credited the decline in plastic pollution surrounding the UK to the plastic bag tax that was implemented in 2015.
The study was published in the Science of the Total Environment, and included data from 39 independent scientific studies across a 25 year period.
The researchers completed 2461 litter trawls, recording the amount of litter in each square kilometre.
It was discovered that there has been a 30% decrease in plastic bags found on the seabed in a large area from close to Norway and Germany to northern France, and west to Ireland.
This drop in plastic bag pollution was measured from 2010, around the mid-point of charging policies coming into place across Europe.
Ireland and Denmark were the first countries to bring in a price for plastic bags, and many European countries shortly followed suit.
Thomas Maes is the lead author on the paper, and says: “The fewer bags we use, the fewer we can lose, the fewer we can put into the environment,”
“If we all work together towards a better environment, we can make changes. A lot of people live in doom, but … don’t give up yet.”
The UK’s plastic bag tax has reduced the use of single-use plastic bags given out by major retailers by 85%, down from 140 to 25 bags for the average person per year.