Marine Debris is simply trash that has found its way into the marine environment (beaches, waters, mangrove areas or underwater reefs and seagrass beds). Marine debris can be found in all the world's oceans, but the problem doesn't necessarily start there. About 80% of the debris found on our beaches and in our waters is blown, washed or dumped from land-based sources. Common land-based sources include people hosting picnics at the beach, poorly-maintained garbage trucks, garbage bins and dumps, and litterbugs. Marine debris is a serious problem not only for animals, but for people too. Marine organisms and people can become entangled in or injured by marine debris. Boat propellers can tangle up in debris, requiring expensive repairs. And many marine animals actually eat marine debris by mistake.
In an effort to reduce the amount of marine debris in VI waters, the St. Croix VIMAS office coordinates local Coastweeks, International Coastal Cleanup activities for the The Ocean Conservancy. Not only do these programs raise awareness of our waterways, but we are gathering valuable information about marine debris that is used by law and policy makers worldwide.
Check out the ICC report to see how much marine debris was collected in the Virgin Islands and beyond.