A close look at seaside and lakeshore garbage

The Make-Up of Seaside and Lakeshore Trash
By Stephen Weir
Writer Posts and Reader Responds

I don't usually post on this site articles of mine that Diver Magazine has posted on its website www.divermag.com. Diver's website gets an impressive numbers of daily visitors ( I get in the 10s they get in the 100s and 1,000s). However, one of the drawbacks of the Diver site is that there isn't a forum yet to show how readers have responded to the articles.

The following story was posted a few days ago (July 15) and almost immediately I received a thoughtful response that should get posted. So what follows is what was posted followed by a response from a reader.

The Washington-based Ocean Conservancy earlier this year released its annual report on trash in the ocean with new data from its 2007 International Coastal Cleanup Project. Their findings? Seashore trash is hurting the world!

Beach trash is clogging shorelines and killing birds, animals and fish.

According to the report “more than 378,000 volunteers participated in cleanups around every major body of water around the globe. Volunteers record the trash found on land and underwater allowing us a global snapshot of the problem.”

They estimate that trash in the ocean “kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement. In the latest cleanup “81 birds, 63 fish, 49 invertebrates, 30 mammals 11 reptiles and one amphibian were found entangled in debris by volunteers. Some of the debris they were entangled or had ingested include plastic bags, fishing line, fishing nets, six-pack holders, string from a balloon or kite, glass bottles and cans.”

The top ten debris items collected? The hit list includes:

* Cigarettes/cigarette filters
* Food wrappers/containers
* Caps/lids
* Bags
* Plastic beverage bottles
* Cups/plates/forks/knives/spoons
* Glass beverage bottles
* Cigar tips
* Straws/stirrers
* Beverage cans

And the response that the article garnered ...

A comment was sent in about one of your articles on Divermag.
Article: No Butts About Seashore Trash
Article URL: http://www.divermag.com/online/articles/57/1/


Your article was very informative but it lacked one thing: A solution to the problem. Many people are under the false assumption that as long as people go to the beach and clean up after themselves, there will be no more problem with litter. What they fail to realize is that only a very small portion of the seashore litter comes directly from trash left on the beach. Aside from direct dumping into the ocean, a great majority of trash that litters the world's beaches comes from inner-city litter that gets washed into the storm drains. For those who do not know the difference between storm drains and sewers, storm drains carry water from the streets directly into the rivers and oceans. It is not treated like sewer water and it does not mix with the sewers, so it does not pass through any treatment facility. Therefore, a plastic wrapper that is tossed onto the ground in St. Louis will eventually wind up in the Gulf of Mexico, choking wildlife. So please, think twice before tossing even the smallest piece of garbage out of your car widow, even if you live far away from the ocean.


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