Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9

So, is Marine Debris bad?


Marine Debris is bad for marine animals, people, and the ocean environment.


What are marine animals?

  Marine animals are animals that live in the ocean like fish, dolphins, seals, and sea tutles. They are also animals that live near the ocean like sea gulls and albatrosses that get their food from the ocean.

What does Marine Debris do to marine animals?

When plastic bags float in the water, they look like jellyfish to animals like sea turtles. Sea turtles eat these plastic bags by mistake, thinking it is their favorite jellyfish to eat.
The plastic bags clog their intestines and trick their bodies into thinking they are full. This makes sea turtles stop eating the food they need, so they die from poor nutrition.
  Marine animals like seals, turtles, and seabirds get tangled by or choke on fishing nets, ropes, and fishing lines. They cannot move, so they die from starvation or lack of oxygen. This can happen when the debris are in the water or on the shore by the ocean.
Photo courtesy: NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  When fish, whales, and other marine animals gulp seawater, they sometimes end up taking in small plastic pieces as well.
Mother albatorosses mistakenly feed plastics to their chicks and eat plastics themselves, thinking it is food.
When the only thing that fills their stomachs are plastics, both adult albatross and chicks do not get enough nutrition to grow and fly.

  This is a super rare object regurgitated from an albatross stomach found at Kure Atoll Island in Hawaii, located 1,370 miles Northwest of Honolulu. This island is known as one of the breeding sites of albatross; however this solitary island far off in the Northern Pacific Ocean is also covered with enormous amounts of marine debris washed ashore. Thousands of albatross die from obstruction in their digestive system and thousands of chicks die as they absorb no nutritional value from the plastic debris fed by their mother albatross.

The object (Size: 105 mm x 45 mm) of this image contains many plastic particles, fishing lines, fishing nets, plastic shopping bag fragments, small metal pieces, and many other non-digestive marine debris. This may give us new findings on the ecological impact of marine debris on coastal and marine species.
Analyzation and evaluation will be fully performed by Professor Saido’s laboratory. We are hoping to introduce details of the analytical findings in the near future.
  Image subject: Sputtered stomach contents (gastro-esophageal reflux) of albatross
Size: 105 mm x 45 mm
Image provided by: Dr. Katsuhiko Saido, Professor of School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii at Manoa. Professor and senior Scientist of Nippon University Graduate School of Engineering Research, Japan
Photo taken: July 2017
Photo by: Marvin D. Heskett, Senior Chemist at Element Environmental LLC
Location: Kure Atoll Island, Hawaii (28.393157, -178.293414). 1,370 mils (2,200 km) NW of Honolulu, HI.

What does Marine Debris do to human?

  People can get sick from eating fish that eat plastics and other marine debris. When we eat fish that eat plastics, those debris can end up in our stomachs as well. As more fish eat more plastic debris, we will need to be careful about eating seafood.
  It is not safe for people to play on the beach or swim in the ocean with marine debris. Some debris are very sharp, such as broken glass pieces or injection needles that anyone on the ocean can step or fall on.
Other debris might have harmful chemicals or other unknown liquids in or on them.
drip bag & injection needle medicine bottle plastics & glass pieces propane gas tank
We cannot safely enjoy and watch the beautiful ocean because of marine debris.

What does Marine Debris do to the ocean environment?


The amount of marine debris is increasing at a very fast rate every year and is becoming a part of the marine environment.

  Many marine creatures use marine debris as homes and are living in them. This makes it hard to clean up marine debris, as these small creatures will also be removed from their ocean environment.
A group of macroplanktons in lightbulb house.
This lightbulb was washed ashore at the beach of Ocean Shores, WA. Small eggs of these zooplankton may have entered into the lightbulb through the only possible entrance, which is the glass tube for the lighting filament cable (500~800 nanometer diameter). When we found this lightbulb on July 30, 2014, all of the zooplaktons were already dead in the heat of summer.

All photos and images on this website are copyrighted material. All Rights Reserved. ©Islands4Kids


How deep are plastic marine debris are sinking?

  Photo Curtesy: JAMSTEC (Japan Agency For Marine-Earth Science and Technology)
  SHINKAI 6500 is a manned submersible that can dive to depths of 6,500 meters. This plastic bag was found at the seabed about 1,760km (1,100 mils) Northeast of Guam ( 24.59174, 156.99844) at the depth of 5,845m (3.7 mils). Novenber 23, 2001

Copyright © 2014 - 2018 Marine-Debris.Org. All Rights Reserved.
Marine-Debris.Org is powered by ISLANDS4KIDS
Research platform development and web design: Naoko & Karin Otsuka