|The soaking up of a substance (water, gas).
|Adhesion of molecules to a surface without absorption.
|A body of permeable rock containing groundwater.
|Early form of brittle plastic made from formaldehyde and phenol.
|Lowest level of a body of water, especially the ocean.
|Break Free From Plastic: a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution.
|This occurs when toxins build up in a food chain e.g. plankton eaten by little fish, eaten by big fish, eaten by seal, eaten by killer whale. Animals at the top of a food chain are the most severely affected.
|Plastic pellets used as a filtering medium in sewage treatment.
|Capable of being decomposed by living organisms. Most things are biodegradable given time, so this term does not tell us how long it will take or under what conditions (bacteria, oxygen, humidity, pH etc). Without those conditions, the process can take many years.
|Variety of plant and animal life on our planet.
|Plastics with carbon derived from biological sources rather than oil. For example, PLA (polylactic acid) is typically made from the sugars in corn starch, cassava or sugarcane.
|Regions of the earth inhabited by living organisms.
|Marine wildlife unintentionally caught by commercial fishermen.
|A basin or area drained by a river or rivers.
|A whale, dolphin or porpoise of the order Cetacea.
|Community interest company or not-for-profit.
|Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (of wild flora and fauna).
|A member of the public who collects and analyses data.
|See: Global warming.
|Relating to organic waste and the conditions under which it will biodegrade over a period of time. Some items may only degrade under industrial composting conditions. If an item states it is home compostable it should have a certification.
|The recycling of waste where the recycled material is of lower quality and functionality than the original material.
|Dimethyl sulphide, a compound produced by marine algae and bacteria which can become adsorbed by plastic, making it smell like food.
|Science that studies living things and their environment.
|A web or network of relations among organisms.
|Everything around us, living (biotic) or non-living (abiotic).
|The surface layer or sunlight zone of the ocean which extends from the surface to 200 metres deep.
|The basic ingredient from which manufactured products are made.
|An environmental charity protecting ecosystems by preventing pollution and promoting sustainability. Runs the Great Nurdle Hunt.
|Debris, especially wreckage of a ship or its cargo: found floating on or washed up by the sea.
|Illegal dumping of waste on unlicensed land.
|A natural fuel (coal, oil) formed in the geological past.
|Ghost fishing gear
|Any discarded, lost, or abandoned, fishing gear in the marine environment. This continues to fish and trap animals, entangle and potentially kill marine life, smother habitat, and can be a hazard to navigation.
|A term coined by Wallace Broecker in 1975 to describe the heating up of Planet Earth. Frank Luntz, a US media consultant coined the term “Climate Change” so his self-serving clients wouldn’t have to admit to the science of global warming.
|Great Pacific Garbage Patch
|A gyre of marine debris. The patch covers 1.6 million square kilometres. An estimated 80,000 metric tons of plastic inhabit the patch, totalling 1.8 trillion pieces.
|A gas that emits and absorbs radiant energy, e.g. methane, water vapour and CO2.
|A form of advertising or marketing spin designed to deceive the public into thinking that their products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.
|Water held underground in the soil.
|Hydrocarbons are organic compounds made up of carbon and hydrogen. Most plastics in use today still come from hydrocarbons derived from crude oil, natural gas and coal.
|The intertidal zone is the area where the sea meets the land between high and low tides.
|Material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore.
|A fine mesh net used for water sampling, especially of microplastics.
|Marine Conservation Zone: an area designated to protect diverse species and habitats in the “blue belt” around the English Coast.
|Human-created waste that has been released into a lake, sea or water way. Also referred to as marine litter.
|The ocean is divided into four major zones: the intertidal, neritic, oceanic and abyssal.
|A shower of organic material falling from upper waters to deep ocean.
|Marine Conservation Society: a UK-based not-for-profit organisation working with businesses, governments and communities to clean and protect oceans.
|The principal component of natural gas. Also a greenhouse gas released in sewage treatment.
|A synthetic fibre having a diameter of less than ten micrometres. Shed from synthetic fabrics during machine washing.
|A microscopic organism, especially a bacterium, virus or fungus.
|Any type of plastic fragment that is between 1 micrometre and 5 millimetres in size. Primary microplastics are intentionally made at that size. Secondary microplastics arise from the degradation (breakdown) of larger plastic products through natural weathering processes after entering the environment.
|Massive Online Open Course: free online course for anyone wishing to learn a new skill.
|The neritic zone is the shallow part of the ocean located between the intertidal zone and the oceanic zone. It has a maximum depth of about 200 meters, allowing sunlight to reach the seafloor.
|National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (US): produce daily weather forecasts and storm warnings; also climate monitoring, fisheries management, coastal restoration and support marine commerce.
|North Pacific Gyre
|The largest ecosystem on earth at 20 million square kilometres formed by four ocean currents.
|A primary feedstock plastic used in the manufacture of plastics.
|The ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere.
|Octyl methoxycinnamate. Commonly used in cosmetics and skin care products, including sun screens. It may cause endocrine disruption and reproductive disorders in marine mammals.
|A regional marine convention that was created with the objective of protecting the Marine Environment of the Northeast Atlantic.
|A region of Earth’s stratosphere between 15 and 30 km above the Earth that shields us from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
|One of the most common chemical filters found in commercial chemical sunscreens.
|Relating to the open sea.
|A chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas.
|A figure expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
|Capable of being decomposed by the action of light, especially sunlight. Example plastics becoming brittle when exposed to sunlight.
|Plankton consisting of microscopic plants.
|Plankton are the diverse collection of (usually microscopic) organisms found in water, unable to propel themselves against a current. The word ‘plankton’ comes from the Greek word for drifter or wanderer. See Phytoplankton and Zooplankton.
|From the Greek plastikos: malleable, capable of being moulded.
|A synthetic compound that can be moulded into solid objects.
|A molecular structure built up chiefly or completely from a large number of similar units bonded together.
|Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. In reality, little is effectively recycled i.e. into something with the same quality and functionality.
|Relating to or situated on the banks of a river.
|Identifying hazards that have the potential to cause harm. Analysing and evaluating the risk associated.
|The draining away of water (or substances carried in it) from the surface of an area of land.
|A protection policy statement setting out how an organisation will keep children or vulnerable individuals safe white in their care.
|The saltiness or dissolved inorganic salt content of a body of water.
|Surfers Against Sewage: a marine conservation charity working with communities to protect oceans, waves, beaches and marine life.
|A policy statement setting out procedures volunteers should follow when encountering sharp objects such as needles, broken glass, etc.
|A polymer made up of siloxane. Typically heat-resistant and either liquid or rubber-like.
|Plastics used once before being thrown away or recycled: plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soft drink or water bottles and most food packaging.
|Thick, soft, wet, viscous mixture of liquid and solid components, especially the product of an industrial process like wastewater treatment.
|Organic wastewater solids that can be reused after stabilization processes such as anaerobic digestion.
|An industrial identification system used to identify the resin type that items were made from.
|A mark left by the high tide or a line of seaweed and other debris washed onto the beach.
|The science of naming, defining and classifying groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics.
|Substances (especially synthetic resins) that become plastic on heating and harden on cooling.
|A measure of how poisonous or harmful a substance may be to life forms.
|Transatlantic species migration
|The trans-ocean passage of marine animals from one continent to another by ‘hitchhiking’ on flotsam.
|Trophic cascade collapse
|An ecological concept that describes the knock-on effects of removing top predators from a food web, for example by hunting or fishing.
|Seabirds (from the order: Procellariformes) including albatrosses, fulmars, petrels, and shearwaters with tubular nostrils on their beaks. The Northern Fulmar is the symbol of Strandliners, as they nest along the cliffs at Pett Level and are the widely studied for plastic ingestion.
|Unwanted or unusable items discarded after use or function.
|The complete flow of waste from domestic or industrial sources through to final disposal.
|A process used to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage and convert it into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle.
|A vertical section of water from the surface of a sea, river or lake to the bottom sediment.
|The level below which the ground is saturated with water.
|A moistened disposable wipe. Originally containing a plastic mesh, these are increasing being sold as plastic-free. They cause problems when flushed down toilets.
|Inappropriate disposal of a non-recyclable object. Contaminating a batch of recyclables with a non-recyclable object — a Tetra Pak carton for instance — can lead to the whole batch being rejected and ending up in a landfill.
|Plankton consisting of small animals and the immature stages of larger animals.