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Unformatted text preview: ©PROJECT OCEANOGRAPHY FALL 1999 MARINE DEBRIS 1 M ARINE D EBRIS Marine Debris: A Lesson in Conserving the Ecosystem Lesson Objectives: • Students will be able to define marine debris and learn the common types and amounts of marine debris found in cleanups • Students will gain an understanding of where marine debris comes from and how it finds its way into the environment • Students will learn what they can do to help reduce marine debris and how to organize a cleanup Vocabulary Words: biodegradation, buoyant, degradable, disposal, entanglement, ghost fishing, marine debris, medical waste, plastic resin pellets, recycling, source, stormwater runoff This packet reprinted with permission from the United States Environmental Protection Agency Turning the Tide on Trash-A Learning Guide on Marine Debris. Marine debris is trash that gets into the marine environment as a result of careless handling or disposal. There are several sources of marine debris, both in the ocean and on land. Careful collection, handling, and disposal of trash, as well as attempts to reduce the amount of trash that must be disposed of, can help to reduce the marine debris problem. What is Marine Debris? Marine debris includes all objects found in the marine environment (which consists of not only the ocean, but also salt marshes, estuaries, and beaches) that do not naturally occur there. Although items such as tree branches and the bones of land animals can be considered marine debris, the term generally refers to trash (articles that have been made or used by people or discarded). The most common ©PROJECT OCEANOGRAPHY FALL 1999 MARINE DEBRIS 2 M ARINE D EBRIS categories of marine debris are plastic, glass, rubber, metal, paper, wood, and cloth. Since 1988, the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) has organized and sponsored an annual National Beach Cleanup Campaign. Volunteers in all of the coastal states, as well as some of the states bordering the Great Lakes, collect marine debris and record their findings. CMC compiles the data and publishes the results, which have shown that significant quantities of marine debris litter U.S. coastlines. In 1991, the 12 most frequently collected marine debris items were: 1) cigarette butts, 2) plastic pieces, 3) foamed plastic pieces, 4) plastic food bags and wrappers, 5) paper pieces, 6) glass pieces, 7) plastic caps and lids, 8) metal beverage cans, 9) glass beverage bottles, 10) plastic straws, 11) plastic beverage bottles, and 12) foamed plastic cups. Although plastic is the most common type of marine debris, all debris causes problems in the marine environment. Two characteristics of trash, buoyancy and ability to be blown around affect how easily the trash can enter the marine environment....
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida - Tampa.

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