By: Asma Mahdi, Outreach and Communications
When you hear the words marine debris, what’s the first image that comes to mind? For some, it’s lost fishing gear that entangles animals. For others, it’s post-consumer waste such as soda bottles and other single-use items littering beaches.
In reality, it’s both, but common types of marine debris can vary region by region. How they end up in the marine environment can depend on the debris type, ocean currents, and weather patterns.
Derelict fishing gear, as the name suggests, has been either discarded or abandoned in the marine environment most likely following fishing activities. But, how do thousands of cigarette butts end up on the beach? A cigarette butt, flicked onto a highway – hundreds of miles from the beach – can make its way to the ocean through the interconnected chain of storm drains, which is also true for most improperly discarded waste.
In our upcoming blog series “Marine Debris in Your Backyard,” we will take you on a journey across the nation, looking at the nine different regions the NOAA Marine Debris Program spans and the most common types of debris found in them, and how it may have ended up there.
Follow us over the next several weeks as we take our first dive with Alaska – a marine debris accumulation hot spot.