CREDIT: Caitlin Wessel
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 Laboratory and the Mission-Aransas National Estuine Research Reserve worked together for two years of research to document problems along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. Their findings are documented in 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 discovery is that 10 times more garbage is dumped 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.
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