LOAN: Caitlin Wessel
Rubbing, especially plastic, in the ocean and along the coastline is an economic, environmental, human health and aesthetic problem causing serious challenges to coastal communities around the world, including the Gulf of Mexico.
Researchers from the Nafin Naval Laboratory and the Mission-Arans National Reserve team have teamed up for a two-year study to document the problem along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Their findings are documented in Bulletin for seawater pollution.
From February 2015 to August 2017, the researchers retained the plaque for seaweed which sank each month on the coastline at 12 different locations on nine barrier islands from the North Padre Island, Texas to Santa Rosa, Florida. The trash is sorted by type, frequency and location.
The most shocking discovery was that 10 times more garbage is washed on Texas shore than any other country in the Gulf during the year.
The majority of the trash, 69-95 percent, was plastic. Plastic elements include bottles and caps for bottles, straws and broken plastic pieces. The researchers also noted that more garbage is washed on the shore during spring and summer. This may be because more people are out and water at this time.
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