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Preventing Marine Debris


Marine debris has become one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's oceans and waterways.  It is defined as "any man-made object, discarded, disposed of or abandoned that enters the coastal or marine environment."  The impacts on the environment are devastating and include entanglement in drift nets and fishing line (i.e. Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles, various species of fish, etc.), ingestion of microplastics causing starvation in marine animals (i.e. Shoreline Birds) as well as being unsightly to the human eye.


Marine debris can take a variety of forms as well as have a variety of degradation times. Here are just a few:

  • Newspaper ~ 6 weeks
  • Milk Carton ~ 3 months
  • Cigarette Butt ~ 12 years
  • Aluminum Can ~ 200 years
  • Fishing Monofilament Line ~ 400-500 years
  • Plastic Bags ~ undetermined
  • Glass ~ undeteremined

By becoming a Steward, you can do your part in helping decrease the amount of marine debris that ends up in our oceans.  From simply picking up trash and placing it in a proper receptacle to recycle, participating in local beach clean-ups to recycling, you can do it on a daily basis. Stewardship opportunities at Hanauma Bay include microplastic beach clean-ups.

For more information and resources on marine debris please visit: