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A new modelling study shows that the Seychelles and other islands in the western Indian Ocean are not responsible for most of the plastic waste that accumulates on their beaches. Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka were found to be the main sources of land-based plastic debris. The Seychelles also accumulate significant amounts of plastic debris of marine origin from fisheries and shipping lanes. • The results highlight the urgent need for a legally-binding Global Plastics Treaty and greater enforcement of regional policies to reduce plastic waste.