Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé have been accused of "Zero progress" on reducing plastic waste, after being named the world's top plastic polluters for the third year in a row.
Coca-Cola was ranked the world's No 1 plastic polluter by Break Free From Plastic in its annual audit, after its beverage bottles were the most frequently found discarded on beaches, rivers, parks and other litter sites in 51 of 55 nations surveyed. Coca-Cola came under fire from environmental campaigners earlier this year when it announced it would not abandon plastic bottles, saying they were popular with customers.
"The world's top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution, but instead they are continuing to pump out harmful single-use plastic packaging," said Emma Priestland, Break Free From Plastic's global campaign coordinator.
This year's global audit of branded plastic waste revealed that single-use sachets, which are used to sell small volumes of products such as ketchup, coffee and shampoo, were the most commonly found type of item, followed by cigarette butts, then plastic bottles.
Simon Mbata, national coordinator of the South African Waste Pickers Association, said: "The majority of plastic we come across cannot be recycled. We find it everywhere, in our waste stream, on our land. When it is buried, it contaminates our soil. Whatever cannot be recycled must not be produced."