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New Report on Marine Debris

A new report, “Marine debris on the shoreline of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary,” was just released which identifies prevalent types of marine debris on the sanctuary shoreline and their distribution.

The report analyzed data sets collected by five citizen science programs along the entire 276 miles of sanctuary shoreline over a five-year period from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021, providing a total of 4,725 survey points collected by more than 37,000 volunteers.

A magnifying glass showing microplastics on a hand

Key findings:

  • 52% of debris items collected were tied to two human activities: smoking, eating/drinking

  • 59% of debris items collected by count were plastic fragments, cigarette butts, and wrappers

  • more than 25% of debris items collected were small plastic fragments, no longer identifiable as an object

This comprehensive analysis included five citizen science data sets from: NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project, Debris Tracker, Trash Information and Data for Education and Solutions, Save Our Shores, Surfrider Foundation, and Downtown Streets Team Santa Cruz.

Click here to access the full report.

Learn more about how you can help! Visit:

An infographic highlighting findings from the report.


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