ABOVE: A selection of trash collected in the study

Pieces of plastic top the list of trash accumulating on coasts, researchers reported in Marine Pollution Bulletin on December 18. For two years, scientists from Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve kept an account of garbage that washed up at 12 shoreline sites on barrier islands along the US Gulf Coast. Most of it was plastic, including bottles, bottle caps, and straws. The researchers also noticed that more trash floated to shore during spring and summer, likely because that’s when people are spending more time outside.

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?