Marine Debris

Marine debris also called marine litter or, increasingly, ocean plastic  is one of the most widespread challenges the ocean faces. Whether visible (a plastic bag floating on the sea surface; a discarded fishing net snagged on coral) or too tiny for our eyes to see (like the fast-growing problem of microplastics), marine debris now exists nearly everywhere in the world ocean, including at the deepest depths. It is impacting wildlife and the food chain, and has become a concern for ocean planners and managers. The following items offer a primer on the science of marine debris, its impacts, and how practitioners are working to address it.


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