Due to plastic being inexpensive to produce, single-use plastics have a predominant role in our lives, and because of their durability it takes hundreds of years for plastic to degrade. Plastic bags we use every day can take anywhere between 10 and 1,000 years to decompose, and plastic bottles can take 450 years or more!
It is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the marine environment every year (Parton et al. 2019) and due to a lack of appropriate waste management, this could increase even further in the coming years. Our oceans are littered with various types of plastics that cause harm to ocean life, including our local sharks, skates and rays. This litter can be broadly divided in to 2 groups: fishing-based sources and land-based sources.
Fishing-based sources originate from accidental and purposefully discarded, broken or lost fishing gear, line, nets and rope. This particular type of debris can cause ghost fishing, where nets and lines drift across oceans capturing and killing wildlife it comes in contact with, including sharks.