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Port Townsend, United States

Davis W.,Leviton Manufacturing | Murphy A.G.,Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

We summarize results of two independent studies on plastic pollution in the marine environment that overlap in time and space. One study evaluated the abundance of anthropogenic debris on 37 sandy beaches bordering the Salish Sea in Washington State while the other characterized plastic debris in surface waters of the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage to Skagway, Alaska. Both studies concluded that foam, primarily expanded polystyrene was the dominant pollutant. Plastic was found in surface waters the full length of the Inside Passage but was concentrated near harbors. At the wrack line, an average square meter of Washington's 1180. km of sandy beaches in the Salish Sea had 61 pieces of anthropogenic debris weighing approximately 5. g. The total loading for the entire 1. m wide band is estimated to be 72,000,000 pieces and 5.8. metric tons. Most anthropogenic debris on beaches is generated within the region. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Lindborg V.A.,Port Townsend Marine Science Center | Ledbetter J.F.,Port Townsend Marine Science Center | Walat J.M.,Port Townsend Marine Science Center | Moffett C.,University of Maine, United States
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

We analyzed dietary habits and presence of plastic in 589 boluses of Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens) as one of two studies on the impact of plastics on marine life in the US Salish Sea. Volunteers dissected boluses collected (2007-2010) from Protection Island, Washington. Components were separated into 23 food and non-food categories. Plastic was found in 12.2% of boluses, with plastic film being the most common plastic form. No diet specialization was observed. Vegetation was the most abundant component, found in 91.3% of boluses. No relationship was observed between any dietary items and occurrence or type of plastic found. Load and potential ecological impact in the marine environment can be expected to increase concurrently with increasing plastic use and number and variety of plastic sources. Future studies are necessary to understand the impacts of plastic ingestion on this species. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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