Marine Debris_

1. Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is human-created waste that has deliberately or accidentally been released in a lake, sea, ocean or waterway.

2. Floating oceanic debris tends to accumulate at the center of gyres and on coastlines, frequently washing aground, when it is known as beach litter or tidewrack. Deliberate disposal of wastes at sea is called ocean dumping. Naturally occurring debris, such as driftwood, are also present.

3. With the increasing use of plastic, human influence has become an issue as many types of plastics do not biodegrade. Waterborne plastic poses a serious threat to fish, seabirds, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, as well as to boats and coasts.

4. Marine debris injures and kills marine life, interferes with navigation safety, and poses a threat to human health. Our oceans and waterways are polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from soda cans and plastic bags to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels.

5. Today, there is no place on Earth immune to this problem. A majority of the trash and debris that covers our beaches comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activities such as picnicking and beach going.

6. Abandoned or discarded fishing gear is also a major problem because this trash can entangle, injure, maim, and drown marine wildlife and damage property. Lost or abandoned commercial and recreational fishing nets, lines, pots, and traps are another form of marine debris, categorized as derelict fishing gear (DFG).

7. Plastic debris acts as a sponge for toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals like Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) that reside in seawater.

8. As contaminated plastics break down into small pieces they often resemble food, such as plankton, and are ingested by marine species, entering into the food chain. Studies connected in the North Pacific Central Gyre on fish that feed on plankton found that 35% of the fish had ingested plastic.

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