The 'Invisible Ocean Pollutants' from our Roads


Over the last decade, public awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean has rocketed, as have the efforts to tackle it through plastic bag, straw and spoon bans, single-use plastic campaigns, growing pressure to move away from ‘fast fashion’, and innovation funding to develop alternative materials. These will all help to tackle the problem but there is an invisible pollutant that is one of the biggest contributors - tyre dust from the wearing down of tyres – and has so far escaped the limelight. It’s called an ‘invisible pollutant’ because its properties mean that it goes largely unseen and because very few people even know about it.


However, some of the statistics are not as easy to overlook:

  • Approximately 25% of car tyres and 33% of truck tyres are natural rubber; the remainder is a combination of synthetic plastic, metals and textiles.
  • In the UK, approximately 63,000 tonnes of tyre dust is deposited on roads each year.
  • Through our separated drain systems, a significant proportion of tyre dust goes straight into our river systems and then into the oceans.
  • Tyres contribute to approximately 28% of all ocean plastic.

Join us to explore the causes, impacts and solutions to stem the tide of this invisible pollutant on our roads.