NOAA displayed tons of plastic and other debris collected in the remote Northwest Hawaii Islands, where the trash threatens wildlife and coral.
During a five-week mission by NOAA to the remote Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, more that 160,000 pounds of garbage was collected from the reefs and shorelines. The trash was displayed at a press event on Ford Island on Friday, Nov. 9.
NOAA says the most commonly found trash is “derelict fishing nets, floats, foam buoys, plastic fragments, plastic bottles, bottle caps, cigarette lighters, shoes, and toothbrushes.”
Rope and fishing nets make up a major portion of marine debris. According to NOAA, the convergence of ocean currents (gyre) carries lost and abandoned fishing nets and gear from all over the Pacific Ocean.
Student volunteers assisted with the sorting of large bags of marine trash collected from the mission to Papahanaumokuakea monument.
Derelict fishing nets and gear pose a large threat to wildlife and the shoreline environment, according to NOAA. It is particularly damaging to fragile coral reefs.
Students and volunteers sort and separate the marine debris into different categories such as styrofoam and plastics.
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