Marine debris in five national parks in Alaska

Marine debris is a management issue with ecological and recreational impacts for agencies, especially on remote beaches not accessible by road. This project was implemented to remove and document marine debris from five coastal National Park Service units in Alaska. Approximately 80 km of coastline were cleaned with over 10,000 kg of debris collected. Marine debris was found at all 28 beaches surveyed. Hard plastics were found on every beach and foam was found at every beach except one. Rope/netting was the next most commonly found category, present at 23 beaches. Overall, plastic contributed to 60% of the total weight of debris. Rope/netting (14.6%) was a greater proportion of the weight from all beaches than foam (13.3%). Non-ferrous metal contributed the smallest amount of debris by weight (1.7%). The work forms a reference condition dataset of debris surveyed in the Western Arctic and the Gulf of Alaska within one season.

L. Polasek, J. Bering, H. Kim, P. Neitlich and al., Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 12 February 2017, In Press

The article


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