A recent study found an average of 334,271 pieces of plastic per square mile in the North Pacific Central Gyre, which serves as a natural eddy system to concentrate material.1 Results of more than 10 years of volunteer beach cleanup data indicate that 60 to 80 percent of beach debris comes from land-based sources. And debris in the marine environment means hazards for animals and humans. Plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all sea bird species, and 43 percent of marine mammal species.21 Moore, C. J., S. L. Moore, M. K. Leecaster, and S. B. Weisberg, 2001. A comparison of plastic and plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre. In: Marine Pollution Bulletin 42, 1297-1300.2 Laist, D. W., 1997. Impacts of marine debris: entanglement of marine life in marine debris including a comprehensive list of species with entanglement and ingestion records. In: Coe, J. M. and D. B. Rogers (Eds.), Marine Debris -- Sources, Impacts and Solutions. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 99-139
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Don’t dump plastics and trash overboard. It is illegal to discharge plastic anywhere in the ocean or in inland waterways.Bring it all back. Properly stash all containers and trash onboard to prevent it from being blown overboard.Designate a permanent onboard trash bin. Use a container with a lid.Help guests understand that on your boat, no trash is thrown overboard.Put empty cans back in your cooler to recycle ashore.Remove product packaging at home to eliminate space-consuming packaging waste onboard.Find ways to reduce the amount of garbage you create while aboard your boat.
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For example, pack food from home in reusable containers rather than disposable food bags.Take used fishing line back to recycling bins at your marina or tackle shop, or send it directly to: Berkley Recycling Center, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, IA 51360-1099.Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter found washed up on beaches and are not biodegradable. Place extinguished cigarette butts in the trash.While on your boat, pick up any litter or marine debris that can be safely reached with a net and dispose of it properly