Otrivin bottle finds are mapped

Monday 4th February 2019 11:37 am
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The map indicating where the Otrivin bottles have washed up along the English Channel

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An interactive map tracking the places along the English Channel where white plastic Otrivin bottles have been found is now online.

In conjunction with the University of Plymouth, we are creating a database of the locations where the bottles are being found to try to better understand the legacy of marine plastic pollution.

Many people responded after we sent out an appeal two weeks ago trying to find out where the little plastic bottles have been found.

Locations as far as Thorpeness, Suffolk; the Sillon de Talbert, a peninsula in northern Brittany, France; and the island of Texel, Netherlands are now added to the map, along with many more along the south Devon coast and Isle of Wight.

Professor Richard Thompson, of the University of Plymouth, said he was keen to see what can be learned from the bottles washing up.

He explained we can learn from the oceanic distribution based on quantities that have been found, where they have been found and when, and any other information that could point to the location of the source.

Prof Thompson said: “There are a lot of misconceptions about where marine plastic pollution comes from. People tend to assume most of it is from countries in south east Asia where there aren’t adequate waste management systems, but what people don’t realise is that most of the litter we find along the coast has come from local areas.

“It is important we emphasise that such a global problem can be solved by local actions and we can learn from our mistakes.”

Although the size of the bottles don’t pose an immediate risk to smaller marine animals such as fish and birds, the real damage will be caused once they break down into tiny microplastics from exposure to the sun, oxygen and warmer temperatures.

The washed up bottles first came to our attention when reporter Kristen Bounds and her friend, Emily Price, were doing a beach clean on Lannacombe and found about 50 of them.

After putting out an initial appeal on social media, we found that many people had also made the same discovery, and more than 1,000 Otrivin bottles were reported to us in one week. Our bottle count now stands at more than 1,600.

Otrivin is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, however these specific bottles pre-date GSK’s ownership of the brand.

To view the Otrivin bottles location map, visit tinyurl.com/yczfpc69, and to report additional bottles found washed up, email [email protected] with the date, location, and if possible, a picture.

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