The federal government is losing in its battle against marine debris in the newly-created Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the largest protected ocean area on earth, writes Dina Cappiello for the Associated Press:
Many who had fought to get the islands protected thought making the area a monument would accelerate debris pickup. Instead, after an expensive and aggressive sweep in 2002-2005, the administration decided to downshift to a maintenance level...Ocean currents are still bringing an estimated 57 tons of garbage and discarded fishing gear to the 10 islands and the waters surrounding them each year. Endangered monk seals are still being snared and coral reefs smothered by discarded fishing nets. Albatrosses are still feeding on indigestible plastic and feeding it to their young.
Up to 80% of marine debris pollution is plastics from urban litter.
CAW and Marine Debris: