Pollution and Wastes

What are the most commonly collected debris items found along ocean coasts?

Debris found along ocean coasts is categorized as land-based, ocean-based, or general source debris. Land-based debris blows, washes, or is discharged into the water from land areas. Land-based debris originates with beachgoers, fishermen and shore-based manufacturers, processing facilities and waste-management facilities. Boating and fishing activities are often sources of ocean-based debris. During a five-year study from 2001 to 2006, a total of 238,103 items of debris were collected from various sites along the nation’s coasts. Land-based debris accounted for 52 percent of the total, general-source debris accounted for 34 percent of the total, and ocean-based debris accounted for 14 percent of the total. The most frequently collected items were:


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