Coastal Bend Beaches Rated Trashiest
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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