The University of Hawaii will soon know more about marine debris, thanks to $15,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The money will specifically fund a project that will create improved methods for monitoring debris as ships cross the Pacific Ocean. Researchers will investigate plastic caught in the filters of ship cooling systems.
Individual pieces of plastic found in the North Pacific are typically less than the size of a dime. When eaten by birds and fish, the plastic stays in their stomachs, displacing food and possibly causing starvation. Marine debris can also carry chemical pollutants and damage marine and coastal ecosystems.
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Image credit: NOAA