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Marine Debris study counts garbage from Texas to Florida



Waste, especially plastic, in the sea and on the coast is an economic, ecological, human and aesthetic problem that poses serious challenges to coastal communities throughout the world, including the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Mission-Aransas National Estuary Research Reserve conducted a two-year study to document the problem along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. Their results are documented in the publication "Accumulation and distribution of marine waste" on barrier islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico, in the Marine Pollution Bulletin by ScienceDirect .

From February 2015 to August 2017, researchers recorded tabs on marine wastes washed ashore each month at 1

2 different locations on nine barrier islands from North Padre Island, Texas, to Santa Rosa, Florida. The recycle bin was sorted by type, frequency, and location.

The most shocking discovery was that ten times more waste was washed ashore on the Texas coast than in any other Gulf country of the year.

Most of the garbage (69 to 95 percent) was plastic. Plastic items included bottles and bottle caps, straws and plastic fragments. The researchers also stated that more wastes were washed ashore in the spring and summer. This may be because there are more people outside and on the water during this time.

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For more information or to obtain a PDF copy of the manuscript, contact Caitlin Wessel at cwessel@disl.edu.

Wessel, C., K. Swanson, T. Weatherall and J. Cebrian. 2019. Collection and distribution of marine remains on barrier islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Pollution Bulletin 139 (14-22) https: / / doi. org / 10. 1016 / j. Marpolbul. 2018. 12. 023

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