A team of researchers from the University of Georgia are hoping to come up with novel ways to record the amount of marine waste, especially plastic, that dots the many beaches of Georgia. The two-part research study by the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and Marine Extension aims to find solutions to this rising problem. The team reports that in order to improve the situation, a standardized approach of reporting marine debris needs to be implemented.
Team rues lack of standardized reporting among volunteer groups
At present, information about the weight and amount of marine waste is collected by a team of volunteers. But these volunteers fail to measure the dimensions or the volume of debris content. Because of the lack of standardized accounts, researchers are not able to compare the different marine debris, particularly plastics submitted bydifferent volunteer groups. While the first part of the research focuses on twenty locations along the coastline of Georgia and includes Tybee, Ossabaw and Cumberland islands, the second part of the study focuses on debris found on Wassaw and Skidaway islands over a two year period.
Researchers describe plastic use as a “21st century global issue”
Dodie Sanders, the co-author of the study highlights the rise in plastic usage when she says, “It’s an important 21st century global issue. We need to learn more to better understand the issues of marine debris.”Professor Richard F. Lee, the lead author of the study, supports her assertion and furthergoes on to explain the importance given to plastic, amongst other debris. According to him, man creates plastic on land, which then gets discharged into oceans and rivers, and then ultimately finds its way back to land once again. He concludes his explanation by saying that plastic debris is not only found on populated beaches, but on out-of-the-way islands as well.