Keeping Our Beaches Clean

August 16, 2016 Posted by: Javan Bailey
Skiff filled with beach trash
A NPS skiff filled with debris collected between Bartlett Cove and Gustavus.

On August 3, resource management staff motored two skiffs out to the Point Gustavus beach to retrieve the marine debris that the resource management team picked up and cached back in May during our hike around Point Gustavus. Everything went smoothly and we collected seven out of nine piles of trash (there are still a few larger items that were left behind), which totaled a very rough estimate of 500 lbs. We recycled 21 lbs of mixed plastics, 70 lbs of scrap metal, and were able to re-purpose two plastic barrels, one fish tote lid, 25 lbs of propane and one fish gaff.

NPS staff collect trash on the beach
Park Service personnel collected beach trash during their annual hike around Point Gustavus. 

Thanks to everyone for helping clean up our beaches! Let's all be mindful of our use and disposal of plastic because of its longevity in the the environment, its tendency to entangle marine life, and degrade into microplastics. Microplastics, which concentrate persistent organic pollutants, are becoming pervasive in the marine environment. They are ingested by a variety of aquatic organisms including invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals. Adverse biological and physiological effects of this ingestion have been documented in a variety of species. Despite the fact that ecological impacts are currently relatively unknown, evidence suggests that microplastics may be transferred up the food chain resulting in bioaccumulation and biomagnification (Lusher 2015).  Learn more about the transfer of microplastics into the food chain (pdf). 

Lusher, A. (2015). Bergmann, M. et al. (eds.), Marine Anthropogenic Litter, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16510-3_10

1 Comments Comments icon

  1. August 18, 2016 at 11:59

    An article in Nature News on the topic of plastics in the worlds oceans just appeared today. Every little bit helps, getting plastic off the beach and preventing it from going into the ocean in the first place. Bottles, bags, ropes and toothbrushes: the struggle to track ocean plastics Scientists know that there is a colossal amount of plastic in the oceans. But they don’t know where it all is, what it looks like or what damage it does.

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Last updated: August 18, 2016

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