Garbage, especially plastics, on the sea and along the coastline are economic, environmental, human health, and aesthetic issues which cause serious challenges for coastal communities throughout the world, including the Gulf of Mexico.
Researchers from the Dauphin Island Marine Lab and Mission-Aransas National Estuine Research Reserve worked together for a two-year study to document problems along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. Their findings are documented in the publication, accumulation and distribution of marine debris on barrier islands throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico, at ScienceDirect Marine Pollution Bulletin.
From February 2015 to August 2017, researchers watched sea debris stranded on the coast every month in 12 different locations on nine barrier islands from North Padre Island, Texas to Santa Rosa, Florida. Waste is sorted by type, frequency, and location.
The most surprising finding is that ten times more rubbish was washed on the Texas coast than in other Gulf countries throughout the year.
Most of the waste, 69 to 95 percent, is plastic. Plastic items include bottles and bottle caps, straws, and broken plastic pieces. The researchers also cited that more garbage was stranded on land during spring and summer. This could be because more people are outside and on the water all this time.
Material provided by Dauphin Island Marine Laboratory. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.