Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution in the aquatic environment is harming wildlife and human health.

All these plastic items were found on a Southold beach. Though they will only be used for a few minutes each, these petroleum-based products would last in the environment forever.

Plastics in the aquatic environment are of increasing concern because of their persistence and effect on the environment, wildlife, and human health. Plastic pollution typically enters the ocean along the coastline, often delivered by streams and rivers into estuaries, and can eventually accumulate in vast garbage patches at sea. Marine life and birds may mistake plastic in the water for food, which can cause bodily damage and lead to starvation, or they may become entangled in the plastic debris. Further, plastic can break down into microscopic pieces that are consumed by marine life and accumulate in the food web.

Recent studies estimate that eight million metric tons of plastic pollution enter the world’s oceans annually and the plastic pollution problem is projected to get worse every year. If left unchecked the global quantity of plastic in the ocean is projected to almost double to 250 million metric tons by 2025. It is estimated that 80% of trash in the ocean derives from land-based sources and 75% of land-based plastic pollution is the result of uncollected plastic. Initially, most of that pollution enters the streams, rivers and embayments in our estuaries before ending up in vast accumulations in the ocean.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, six of the top 10 contributors to plastic in our oceans are single-use, or disposable, plastic products. Most of the single-use, or disposable plastic products are “food service ware” which includes food and beverage containers, bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, cups, plates and cutlery and drinking straws.

Monofilament fishing line

Monofilament is a clear plastic single strand fishing line. Excess fishing line is one of the most common and deadliest forms of marine trash to wildlife. Marine life can easily become entangled in the nearly invisible plastic fishing line or ingest the fishing line which may cause injury or death.

Click here for information on Peconic Estuary Partnership’s  Monofilament Fishing Line Collection and Recycling>>>

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