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Coastal Bend Beaches Rated Trashiest

Coullin Croulet, former research assistant at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, collects marine debris on a Texas beach as part of a two-year-long data collection project conducted by the institute. Courtesy photo by Sally Palmer

Shorelines in the Coastal Bend region accumulate 10 times more trash than those in any other Gulf Coast state, according to research recently published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Data collection occurred monthly over a two-year period, said Katie Swanson, co-author and Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve stewardship coordinator. The season of the worst trash accumulation is right around the corner, she warned.

“Trash accumulation on the beaches at our Texas sites peaked in the spring with the highest accumulation rates in March with as much as eleven new items per three feet each month,” she said. “March is the month with the highest

rates, and it’s also when our winds and currents switch from offshore to onshore.”

Trash increases as warmer weather prompts recreational and maritime activities to swing into high gear and current and river flows begin to rise.

Currents are the biggest drivers of trash to Texas beaches, a tale told in the amount of international garbage found along the shoreline.

The report was not all bad news. It came with suggestions for how to help alleviate the problem such as increasing targeted cleanups in the spring and reducing the use of plastics. Of the trash found during data collection, 93 percent was plastic.

Swanson is a research associate at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. She is joined by author Caitlin Wessel of the University of South Alabama’s Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Tracy Weatherall of UTMSI, and Just Cebrian of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

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There are 2 comments.

Rudy Jaime —
Let's not forget that the city of Corpus Christi refuses to stop the use of plastic bags in the cities area of responsibility even though they know it is a hazard for all of our surrounding water ways and marine wild life. While the plastic bags not only fly out of cars and the back of pickup trucks, the majority flies out of the back of our cities and contractors garbage trucks! Wow, imagine that? Wake up Corpus Christi, you use to be proud to be "Corpus Christi is the sparkling city by the sea"! Today it is the trashiest city by the Sea!!! IT IS NOT TO LATE TO CHANGE!!!
Carrie Meyer —
"How to alleviate the problems such as ..." How about add this as something our community can do to alleviate the problem of trash in our waterways? Oppose Exxon/SABIC, the world's largest steam cracker plant being proposed for construction right outside Portland. The giant plant will use a ton of our city's raw water to make PLASTIC to be made into more single-use plastic. Then it will flush its heated, treated wastewater directly into CC Bay and Copano Bay. Other similar plants have been known to inadvertently flush out millions of plastic pellets called "nurdles" along with that wastewater into the bay, which are a health threat to wildlife. So if the study really wanted to list things we can do to stop the horrible problem of plastics in our Gulf and bays, it should start with OPPOSE EXXON/SABIC!!

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