Healthy Habitats and Oceans (H2O) Program

Marine Debris Facts

Marine Debris Facts

  • Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes.
  • 80% of marine litter is land-based while an estimated 20% is ocean-based.
  • Debris threatens ALL species of marine life.
  • ENTANGLEMENT affects over 200 marine species worldwide.
  • Sea turtles, marine mammals, fish, and seabirds often mistake marine debris for food.
  • INGESTION can lead to malnutrition and starvation as debris collects in the stomach and causes animals to feel full. It can also prevent proper nutrient absorption.
  • Some marine plastics are made of toxic chemicals that can cause reproductive issues and death when ingested.
  • Ecosystems can be smothered by ghost nets, plastic bags, and derelict fishing gear, permanently altering the environment.
  • Marine debris can contribute to the migration of invasive species through “rafting.”

Some of the Marine Debris We’ve Collected Since July 2015!

17280 cigarettes/filters
9941 macroplastics
5406 microplastics
5107 food wrappers
3806 plastic cap rings
2555 straws/stirrers
1819 plastic bottles
1688 forks/knives
1629 fishing line
1536 plastic bags
1406 aluminum drink cans
1312 foam food containers
840 glass bottles
560 balloons/strings
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78 condoms
58 syringes
36 diapers

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