Study shows that ten times more trash ends up in the coast of Texas than any of the other Gulf states throughout the year.

Trash, particularly plastic, in the ocean is a growing concern. It is estimated that eight million tones of plastic waste is dumped into the oceans each year, which is equivalent to throwing plastic into the ocean from one garbage truck every minute each day.

In 2015, researchers from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve stepped in to quantify the marine debris along the Gulf of Mexico shorelines and explored how the plastic waste enters this part of the ocean. Researchers found that the waste swirling in the Gulf of Mexico comes from 12 different sites on nine barrier islands from North Padre Island, Texas to Santa Rosa, Florida. But what really shocked researchers was the amount of marine debris that built up on the coast of Texas. The two-year long study shows that coast of Texas produces ten times more trash than any of the other Gulf states throughout the year.

“Marine debris is an economic, environmental, human health, and aesthetic problem posing a complex challenge to communities around the globe. To better document this problem in the Gulf of Mexico we monitored the occurrence and accumulation rate of marine debris at twelve sites on nine barrier islands from North Padre Island, Texas to Santa Rosa, Florida. With this information we are investigating three specific questions: (1) what are the major types/sources of marine debris; (2) does debris deposition have seasonal oscillations; and (3) how does debris deposition change spatially?” Authors wrote in the study.

Plastic makes up the majority of Gulf of Mexico marine debris and includes items like bottles, their caps and straws as well as other pieces of broken plastics. Another surprise was that the debris accumulation increased significantly during the spring and summer seasons. The reason may be that more people visit the place during this time of the year. People on the shore and boats throw plastic items in the ocean that pose a serious threat to marine life. Some of marine creatures swallow this plastic rubbish while others get tangled in it.

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