MARINE litter costs Scotland £16.8 million every year in its impact on the environment, wildlife, industry and tourism, say new to figures.

It is estimated that every vessel in the Scottish fleet pays an estimated £17,000 price annually, with the bulk of the waste made up of plastics, which present a major risk for marine wildlife.

A new action plan has been launched to deal with the problems. It makes clear that efforts will be focused not only on clearing up litter that has already entered the marine environment, but also on preventing it from ending up there in the first place as 80 per cent of marine litter is thought to have been dropped on land.

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Launching the Scottish Government's marine strategy on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the marine environment was "one of our greatest assets and it is in everyone's interests to preserve it".

"Marine litter is a significant problem and a staggering amount of discarded materials - particularly plastics - wash up on our beaches every single day," he said.

Meanwhile, as part of its work to support education projects that enhance value and sustainable management, the Crown Estate has committed £45,000 to KIMO UK's Fishing for Litter campaign for primary schools across Scotland.