This Is What 200 Tons of Marine Debris (Over Just 12 Miles) Looks Like

Written by Katie Pohlman and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

A cleanup crew recovered 200 tons of trash from just 12 miles of Alaska‘s coastline around Prince William Sound.

Gulf of Alaska Keeper (GoAK), a nonprofit dedicated to picking up debris around the state, filled 1,200 “super sacks” and collected thousands of buoys, marine debris specialist Scott Groves said. The group spent a month at Montague Island and two weeks at Kayak Island to collect the trash, KTVA Alaska reported.

Alaska trash

Groves, who was interviewed by KTVA after they were done collecting the trash, said, “It’s such a pristine place out there also, so being able to fly over where we’ve cleaned and to see what we have done is a good feeling.”

The 200 tons of trash was shipped to Anchorage on a barge. It took an entire day to unload the trash. Now, GoAK will spend at least 10 full days sorting the trash, enlisting more than 100 volunteers.

Groves hopes to pick out everything that can be recycled. He said as much as 80 percent of the total debris might be recyclable.

“With the amount of plastic everyone uses in today’s age, a lot of what we find is single-use plastics,” Groves said. “So just taking one water bottle and being able to reuse that again is huge.”

The presence of plastics in the ocean is plaguing the world. A report completed by UK-based Eunomia Research & Consulting found 80 percent of the annual input of plastic litter comes from land-based sources. The remaining 20 percent are plastics released at sea, such as fishing gear.

Even worse, 94 percent of the plastic that enters the oceans ends up on the sea floor.

Alaska’s coastline isn’t the only one covered with debris. In recent weeks a “glacier of trash,” as local authorities described it, is inundating beaches in Hong Kong. The situation is so bad that trash on one of the affected islands can be seen from space.

Between July 1 and 9 alone, about 172,000 pounds—or 8 tons—of trash were collected from Hong Kong beaches. That’s 40 percent of the amount collected in Alaska.

Photo Credit: Maureen/Flickr

107 comments

John B
John B2 months ago

Thanks For sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Marie W.
Marie W10 months ago

Turning ocean into trash bag.

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Carole H.
Carole H11 months ago

thank you

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner11 months ago

Alaska's coastline is 6640 miles. Based on this section of 12 miles, that would mean roughly 110,667 tons of garbage (and that's not counting the plastic that has sunk to the bottom. If what was estimated was accurate (94% ends up on the sea floor) that amounts to at least 1,734,000 tons of plastic littering the sea floor just off the Alaskan coast.. most of which will takes at least 100,000 years to biodegrade. In the meantime it will photodegrade to smaller and smaller pieces and probably kill off most of the sea life.

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Elaine W.
Past Member 11 months ago

Very sad damage to the planet and life. 7/25

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H11 months ago

Many thanks to GoAK. Your actions are needed world wide.

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Janis K.
Janis K11 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Janet B.
Janet B11 months ago

Thanks

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Lisa M.
Lisa M11 months ago

Horrifying.

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